The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 151 - F1's Valtteri Bottas on How Bikes Make Him a Better Racer & Dealing with Pressure

Nov 10, 2022
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

How about something a little off-topic-ish? Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas spends many of his weekends inside a 1,000-horsepower race car while chasing tenths of seconds on tracks around the world, but he's also a dedicated cyclist who spends many of his off-days chasing PRs and KOMs on his gravel bike. Tiffany Cromwell races the UCI Women’s World Tour for Canyon / SRAM and has bagged wins at the Giro and Classics, and also represented Australia at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Amy Charity is a retired pro racer who co-founded the SBT GRVL event in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and together with Valtteri and Tiffany, is putting in the FNLD GRVL in Lahti, Finland, next June. If you think you can keep up with Valtteri on two wheels, FNLD GRVL offers three different length rides to choose from, including the 177km 'Midnight Sun' course with nearly 3,000 meters of climbing.

Today's episode sees Valtteri explain why bikes have become so important to him and how they help him be a better F1 driver, why he's always been so good at the pressure cooker that is qualifying, and which of his teammates would make the best - and worst - riding partner. We also get into what he's learned from Tiffany, how the current generation of cars compares to previous formulas, different driving styles, and the race car of his dreams. Tiffany explains the ins and outs of professional road racing, why it's important to keep things fresh, and what she's learned from F1 to be a better bike racer.

Which current or former F1 driver would you like to go for a ride with and why?

November 10th, 2022

What's more uncomfortable: pulling five Gs in a braking zone or your ass after a five-hour ride?

Podcast presented by Canyon


Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

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mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 75 0
 Seriously? You managed to get Valtteri Bottas on the podcast?!? Wow. I hope he was compensated for his time in Quinney Pants (those ridiculous POC things).
  • 2 45
flag jmhills (Nov 10, 2022 at 8:19) (Below Threshold)
 To be fair, he has the time to spare. It is not like Alfa is competitive...
  • 24 0
 @jmhills: There isnt a single team racing in F1 that isnt competitive....uncompetitive people never even get to the race track.
  • 16 0
 @jmhills: Literally put the Alpha on the 3rd row less than 7 days ago.
  • 27 0
 @jmhills: I mean, he was best of the rest in Mexico quali, and he's scored something like 75% of Alfa's points this season.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: to be fair Zhou hasnt had much luck this season, and still outperformed other "rookies".
  • 1 29
flag bikeflog (Nov 10, 2022 at 18:03) (Below Threshold)
 @mikelevy: I'm sorry as soon as I heard Valtteri Bottas' disrespectful "intro" I wasn't really interested in what he had to say. Athlete's on their way DOWN should be more humble.
  • 18 0
 @bikeflog: Nah, don't be so serious - the stuff you didn't hear was us laughing and joking around about it Wink Imagine having your every word and action scrutinized online by loads of people who may or may not be taking things out of context?! That'd be no fun.

On the way down? What F1 season have you been watching?
  • 2 13
flag bikeflog (Nov 10, 2022 at 18:14) (Below Threshold)
 @mikelevy: OK, I hear you, I don't follow F1 but do top tier drivers drive for 2nd tier teams (other than for lucrative contracts). It was an assumption on my part. Keep up the good work.
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: He's done a good job overall! They should do pretty well next season. But I'm really looking forward to seeing what's going to happen with Fernando at AM!!
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: yeah, i am looking foward to that too, hopefully they finally unlock that car, talking about Aston Martin, have you seen Lance's face expressions recently, it seems like he is no longer having fun, wonder if he is disappointed overall, you know, not being a top driver, accepting reality.
  • 1 0
 @Narro2: LOL. Yeah, I'm just not a fan. He seems like such a spoiled rich boy. I hope McLaren can fix their car too! The 2021 was so much better and better looking. They changed the tint of the mango this season and I didn't like it. Lando is so great and if he had a car he would kill it. I'm spacing out on who he's racing with next season...crap.
  • 34 1
 There seems to be a direct correlation to the decrease of his performance and the increase of headset routing
  • 20 0
 Battery Voltas
  • 17 0
 If you get Kimi on you can expect 19 words in your 60 minutes.
  • 13 0
 Total Fanboy interview both Tiffany Cromwell and Valteri Bottas are favourites. 325-350 FTP for a guy like Bottas is amazing. He doesn't look like a big guy, so that's amazing. I was glued to this interview.
  • 10 0
 I think he's under 68kg, so that's a badass number for sure. It's probably not easy to maintain that with all of his travel.
  • 2 0
 That FTP is mind blowing!
  • 4 0
 Sounds mad, I had a similar reaction. I think because of what they do, obstensibly a lot of sitting down, the fitness of a modern F1 driver goes under the radar. Also, credit to Levy for getting so much out of Bottas, not a known talker.
  • 12 0
 I know Buttass is a man of the people but how'd you manage to get him on Pinkbike for an hour?! Holy shit guys, fantastic job
  • 9 0
 Did he already know what Pinkbike was about ? Is it difficult to get someone outside of the industry on the podcast for a website that looks like... well what it is.. Is the pitch - Pinkbike - it's kind of big if your into mountain biking - just don't look at the website.
  • 2 0
 To be fair, this website is one of the last ones on earth that has a relatively free comment section.
  • 11 0
 I imagine that being on the Pinkbike Podcast has allowed Valtteri to finally check off the last must do on his life goals list. He can now retire next year fully fulfilled.
  • 23 0
 He did mention that being on the Pinkpod was just under winning an F1 championship on his to-do list.
  • 22 0
 @mikelevy: I believe it was above the Championship. Only one F1 driver has ever been on the Podcast. Lots of drivers have won the championship.
  • 1 0
 @TaytonR: good point
  • 10 0
 So glad that Mike Iforgothissurname has done so well on this series and continues to keep things creative! Good work Levy
  • 6 0
 Pretty great to hear F1 on the Pod.

Pretty apparent what a serious competitor he is from general discussion. I.e. "Do you use a power meter?" He seemed nearly insulted! Reading between the lines, to be competitive at that level you need to pay attention to every detail.

Also--reading the comments, two things become apparent: First, bikers that don't follow F1 don't really get it. Bottas as washed up? WTF. Second, before you think Bottas is a nut you need to visit Finland/meet some Finns to understand their humor.
  • 9 0
 Levy finally has ana excuse to talk about F1 on the podcast
  • 8 0
 I am asking for the 4 people who care. What sim racing do you do Levy? iRacing? AC?
  • 19 0
 I spend my time pointing the wrong direction or in the tire wall in iRacing.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Ha. Nice. Same here. I am currently addicted to the GT3 series. I will have to keep my eye out for you name in the races.
  • 4 0
 @MRP9: I'm mostly doing the AI stuff right now but yeah, the GT3 cars are so much fun. I prefer the M4 GT3.
  • 6 0
 YESSSSSS! F1 on the PB much did Mike freak out before he went live? Super stoked for this interview!
  • 25 0
 Not gonna lie, pretty neat to have an actual F1 driver on Pinkbike. I've been obsessed with F1 for decades. I don't get that fussed about anyone, but it's been such a crazy ride... from what we were doing 12 or 13 years ago to now having Valtteri come on to chat about bikes Smile
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: missed opportunity to ask what's the "F1 of biking" ; )
  • 5 0
 I already loved the Pinkpod, but this is next level! Never thought I'd see this, props guys and really awesome to hear Valtteri talk about bikes!
  • 3 0
 I love how Mike was trying to pretend this episode is about bikes for the first 15 minutes and then gave up. Good job, I bet talking with one of the top F1 drivers was high on your bucket list!

Interesting insight about his mental approach to quali vs the race, kinda like XC/Enduro vs DH I guess.
  • 6 0
 the greatest crossover episode
  • 6 0
 Omg! Okay,it's happening! EVERYBODY STAY CALM!
  • 5 0
 Can’t believe you made this happen @mikelevy . Can’t wait to listen to this one!
  • 6 0
 Wow. Levy’s wet dream.
  • 5 0
 Sweet baby Jesus, thank you
  • 1 0
 I was hoping this podcast would happen!!! I saw Tiffany and Valtteri recently at the BWR Kansas race. Didn't approach them, but seemed like super nice people out there having fun on bikes! Great podcast @mikelevy, keep it up man.
  • 1 0
 i follow these guys on Strava, the bikes they been riding this last week have been terrible, they must've been rental walmart bikes, why couldnt Canyon ship some bikes to South America?
  • 4 0
 You should make Bottas’s intro the permanent podcast into.
  • 3 0
 I wonder of him being sponsored by CNYN affects his BJCTVT at all.
  • 2 0
 Sad for Valtteri on qualifying. Alfa didn't make the right call. Super huge congrats to K Mag though!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 I was also wondering if Valtteri ever tried Mountain Biking. I know Mark Webber was into it (or was at one point)... @mikelevy - here's another podcast idea!
  • 2 0
 No Mikey NOOOOOOOooooooooooooo
  • 2 0
 Freeekin Bottas - love that guy Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Freeekin Bottas cheeks - love that guy Big Grin
  • 3 3
 Is anyone gonna talk about Outside making all Trailforks early adopters get an outside+ membership? Way to pad the numbers and fill up the junk mailbox
  • 2 0
 What a nice guy and nice couple. Nice interview. Congrats.
  • 2 0
 Yes! More please.
  • 3 2
 It´s endearing how Americans have become F1 fans the last years.
  • 3 4
 The US is full of people following international sports. Not just MotoGP, Rally and F1, tennis, futbol too. F1's recent efforts to grow the US fanbase aside, it's not new. I understand you're from a small place, but maybe redouble your efforts to open your mind pal.
  • 1 1
 Starting watching F1 in 2006 - lets recall some moments since then. Massa's fuel hose fire in Singapore, Hamilton outrunning Timo in Brazil to the line, Vettels stunning wet race win in a Toro Rosso, Multi-21, Webber going to the moon in Valencia, Alonso Leava da space, Felipe - Fernando is faster than you, Jenson's wet race last minute pass FTW on Seb in Canada, Grosjean "first lap nutcase" shoving Alonso into Hamilton and almost beheading him, preempting moves towards HALO, Shumacher's Mercedes pole lap in Monaco (then penalized), Maldonado's first and only win, Grosjean chasing Seb for 2nd at Nurburgring, Kimi's classic leave me alone I know what I'm doing, Bruno Senna in a lotus and williams, Karun Chandok in HRT, Danny and Verstappen duking it out at redbull, Seb spinning the ferrari FTL, "Kyvat the Torpedo". I could go all day but need to go back to work.
  • 3 1
 @mikaeljc you got any problem with that?? just started watching the sport last year pal, my wife and I were bored on a weekend we put the "surprise me" option on Netflix and it was Drive to Survive, we liked Daniels attitude, loved Lewis' personality and got hooked on F1 since then.

ps: My daughters cheer for Fernando and Esteban just because their cars are pink.
  • 3 0
 @flaflow: True! I've been enjoying it since the 90s. Problem was it was so hard to find on TV unless you had some fancy cable package, which I refuse to buy....
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: remember reading 'coverage' 1 or 2 months after the fact? It was the norm. Do I miss Racing News? Not as much as many other things.
  • 1 0
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