Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas has explained the colourful radio message he addressed to his critics after winning the Australian Grand Prix.
While being congratulated by his engineer on the slowing down lap after taking the chequered flag in Melbourne, Bottas said: “to whom it may concern, fuck you”.
He said the comment was made spontaneously, and that its intended recipients would know who they are.
Bottas indicated it was inspired by the frustration he felt in the face of criticism last season when he failed to win a race while team-mate Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world championship.
“It just came, I just wanted to send my best regards,” Bottas explained.
“That’s it. Honestly, I didn’t think about it or plan it, it just came.
“Obviously there are many people who support you, and honestly I appreciate that a lot. There are many people around me, supporting me.
“There are always ups and downs, and you can really see the true support quite easily.
“And then through the difficult times there’s the other part, which is a lot more negative.
“That’s their weakness, so it’s fine.”
Asked if he felt criticism last year was unfair, Bottas replied: “I can’t say unfair, because everyone can say what they really want.
“Just for whom it may concern, maybe they should look in the mirror sometimes and think actually why they do that. For me it’s OK now.”
Pressed on who he had targeted with the comment, Bottas said “it would be quite a long list, unfortunately, that’s how it goes.
“I’m sure the people to who it was, they would know it.”
He agreed that the dominant win, with a margin of 20 seconds, would be a big boost to his confidence.
“In sport, and especially this sport, the confidence you get from the results is massive, and it can boost you a lot,” said Bottas.
“Even though there will be difficult times during every season, you always remember the good ones, and you get strength from knowing that you’ll be able to do something like today.
“Obviously having a year without a win, without getting the absolute result you wanted, this is going to be a big boost for this year.
“A perfect start to the year, very different to last year, so we just need to really keep it up and build from what we’ve learned as a team this weekend and from myself.”