Valtteri Bottas has moved to play down a spiralling controversy billed especially in his native country as a 'clash of the Finns'. Bottas' first crash with fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen was in Russia, with the sequel in Mexico last weekend described by some as a revenge move by the Williams driver.
Afterwards, their post-race comments played out as an extended fight via the media, but Bottas insists the episode was not "personal". "We obviously had different views, but that's ok, everyone is entitled to that," the 26-year-old told Brazil's UOL Esporte. "It will not change the way I drive against him," Bottas insisted, "so nothing changes. I think he's a good driver and no, there's nothing personal."
Bottas' comments come in the wake of an intense reaction to the Russia-Mexico clashes, particularly within his and Raikkonen's native Finland. "Honestly, I don't know what has been discussed on the internet in Finland," Bottas insists. "I made the mistake in the past to read something and I decided not to go back! Of course, in Finland, I know that Kimi has a lot more fans than I do, but that's ok," he added.
Both Bottas and Raikkonen have played down the need to get together to sort out the dispute, but another famous Finn believes the pair should consider it. "I know from my time that I had discussions with many drivers when I or someone else has made a mistake," two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen, involved now in Bottas' management, told Ilta Sanomat newspaper.
"In general, these discussions have resulted in at least some sort of consensus, so I hope that occurs now between Kimi and Valtteri," he added. "They are professional drivers and adults and I believe that things will be done in the right way," said Hakkinen. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing