Valtteri Bottas: ‘I needed a psychologist to help me recover’

Valtteri Bottas signed for Williams in 2013, completely skipping Formula 2 after his GP3 success.

During his four years with Williams, Valtteri Bottas announced himself to the Formula 1 world as one of the most exciting young prospects in the sport.

The Finn finished as high as fourth in the drivers’ championship during his time with the team, making it seem like only a matter of time until he was snapped up by a potentially title winning team.

Bottas did eventually earn himself a move to Mercedes to partner Lewis Hamilton, achieving two second place finishes in the championship during his time with the Silver Arrows, never quite managing to topple his legendary teammate.

The 33-year-old has now opened up on his time with Williams, explaining that his success came at a huge psychological cost, such was the intense level that he trained at.

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“I trained myself to pain, physically and mentally,” he said during an episode of the Maria Veitola series.

“It got out of hand, and it became an addiction.

“No eating disorder was officially diagnosed, but it was definitely there.”

In his quest to become a title winning F1 driver, Bottas has revealed that he would push his body beyond its limits, attempting to live on steamed broccoli in order to reduce his weight.

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These unhealthy eating patterns had a long-term effect on the Finn, who admits that he had to seek help from a psychologist in order to understand what he was doing.

“It wasn’t very healthy. I wanted to be the best and I thought I had to do that,” he said.

“If the team says that I have to weigh 68 kilos and I naturally weigh 73 kilos, then they will do everything for that.

“I needed a psychologist to help me recover, whose first assessment of me was that I’m almost like a robot who only wants to reach his goal and has no feelings at all.

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“It startled me. It’s true that at that time I had no other life than F1.”

2022 saw Bottas move to Alfa Romeo, after his time with Mercedes came to an end and the Finn has suggested that he is as happy as he has ever been in F1.

The security of a multi-year combined with the fact that he is not fighting for championships has taken a huge weight off of Bottas’ shoulders, allowing him to enjoy his driving for the first time in a while.