The Formula 1 world got to see a lot more of Mercedes star Valtteri Bottas than they were ready for in the action-packed new series of Netflix’s Drive to Survive.
Bottas is quickly emerging as one of the most popular figures in the documentary covering the 2020 Formula 1 season with episode three of the hit series going into detail about his rivalry with teammate Lewis Hamilton and his constant battle with critics.
However, the gripping drama surrounding his rollercoaster year has been overshadowed by a bizarre nude scene at the start of his story — titled “Nobody’s Fool” — in which he is filmed during a nude sauna with agent and mentor Ville Ahtiainen while they are back home in Finland.
While the series was only released on Friday (AEDT) several dramatic storylines have already been creating headlines around the world, including Romain Grosjean’s fireball crash last year and Aussie Daniel Ricciardo’s tense separation from former team Renault.
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Bottas’ new vision is the cheekiest storyline yet.
The 31-year-old had the cameras following him when he made a return to his native Finland last year and they clearly stalked him like a shadow.
WARNING: Explicit images
The sauna scene shows clear vision of Bottas’ rear end and the images have quickly become a chuckling point for Formula 1 fans around the globe.
None more so than Aussie larrikin Ricciardo, who was among the first to take a light-hearted pot-shot at his rival on the grid.
“Imagine I’m not the first to comment on it, but still not sure how I feel about seeing ALL of Bottas in DTS,” he posted on Twitter.
“I guess it’s the birth of Bottass. Dammit we’re immature. All I’d recommend is a tan. Was sunglasses sorta stuff. Otherwise, fair play lad.”
Bottas sets up the scene by walking into camera in a state of nature and calmly declaring “balls out” as he takes his seat in the sauna.
“This is peaceful,” he is heard saying”.
“Finland is a pretty good contrast to F1 world, there’s no pressure.”
The tranquillity of the scene sets up Bottas’ 2020 fight, heading into a year where he was out of contract with the world championship-winning team.
Bottas has had to watch on as teammate Lewis Hamilton has taken four-consecutive world championships.
His place in the team as the so-called No. 2 driver is a focus of the episode, showing how he deals with the criticism of being described by his own team boss Toto Wolff as Hamilton’s wingman.
The episode also shows a scene where a concentrating Bottas can hear Lewis Hamilton singing through the walls of their adjoining driver’s rooms — a scene suggesting the world champion is always in Bottas’ head.
“I’m not just a number two,” he says in the episode.
“Lewis is a big worldwide star compared to me. Pretty much everyone knows the name Lewis Hamilton, but not so many people know the name Valtteri Bottas. But my strength against him is that I want the title more than him.”
The episode peaks when Bottas breaks his 2020 drought to win the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.
Bottas’ win delayed Hamilton’s world championship celebrations by one more race — and he was happy to let his critics know about it when speaking on team radio after the win.
“Yes, get in there,” he said.
“Yes, ha ha. F*** yeah. I think it’s a nice moment to thank my critics. To whom it may concern, f*** you.”
Bottas eventually signed a one-year contract extension with Mercedes to remain as Lewis Hamilton’s co-driver through to the end of 2021.