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Bottas: 2022 probably my most enjoyable F1 season so far

Valtteri Bottas believes 2022 is "probably the most enjoyable" season he has experienced to date in Formula 1 thanks to stability over his future with Alfa Romeo.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo F1 Team

Bottas joined Alfa Romeo at the beginning of the season following a five-year stint with Mercedes that saw him score 10 grand prix victories and twice finish as runner-up in the drivers' championship to team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

While the Finn has taken a step back from the regular front-running form he enjoyed at Mercedes, he has spearheaded Alfa Romeo's efforts in the midfield this season, scoring 41 of its 46 points so far.

Bottas signed a multi-year agreement with Alfa Romeo for this year, providing certainty over his future that he never previously enjoyed with either Williams or Mercedes, who opted for yearly contract renewals.

"This is actually the first time for me, because even with Williams, it was always one year," Bottas told Autosport in an interview.

"It's the first time I haven't had to stress and answer the questions, because now for the drivers who don't know, for sure it's not going to be nice."

Bottas admitted that he felt more relaxed and better able to "just fully focus on the job", giving him more freedom to enjoy racing in F1.

"This season is probably the most enjoyable so far," Bottas said. "OK, maybe you don't always remember things, but it really feels like I'm enjoying F1 more than ever.

"When it gets to the racing, it's a lot of good fun, especially like in the midfield and how different it is strategy-wise in the races. It's more like one decision can jump you many places. It's a different game.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Photo by: Antonin Vincent / DPPI

"In the past at Mercedes, normally it used to be only one team that we battled against, so then it's just focused on those two cars. But now I can have six cars around that we need to be aware of. So that's nice."

Bottas said the environment at Alfa Romeo felt "quite young" and "like a new race team", as well as being "a bit more relaxed" than Mercedes which was regularly fighting for wins and championships.

"Of course, when I work, I work hard but then when I'm off, I can do whatever I want," Bottas said. "Life with the team and in F1 and outside of it is a really nice balance."

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Bottas is a prolific user of social media, and posted a cheeky image of him skinny-dipping in a stream in the United States up on his Instagram account earlier this year. The picture - dubbed the 'Bot-ass' - was turned into a print for a charity auction that raised €50,000. 

Asked if he could have posted the picture when he was at Mercedes, Bottas said: "I doubt I would have done it.

"It's also like, out of the track, I'm so relaxed and even like people's opinion, I just care much less than I used to.

"And it was a nice photo!"

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