After having been congratulated by his engineer on the cooling lap after taking the checkered flag in Melbourne, Bottas said: “To whom it may concern, they fuck you.”
The message was interpreted as an echo of the frustration he felt at criticism last season after he could not win a race, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world championship.
Bottas insisted that the comment was made spontaneously, and that those to whom it was addressed will know who they are.
“He just arrived, I just wanted to send my best wishes,” he explained. “That’s right, honestly, I did not think about it or plan it, it just came.
“Obviously there are many people who support him, and I honestly appreciate it very much.
“There are always ups and downs, and you can really see the true support quite easily.
“And then, through the difficult times, there’s the other side, which is much more negative, that’s their weakness, so that’s fine.”
When asked if he felt last year’s criticism was unfair, he said: “I can not say it’s unfair, because everyone can say what they really want.”
“Only for those who might be interested, maybe they should look in the mirror a few times and really think about why they do it, for me it’s fine now.”
Pressed on who had pointed to the comment, said: “It would be a long list, unfortunately, that’s how it is, I’m sure the people he belonged to would know it.”
Bottas described Australia as the best race of his career to date and admitted that Mercedes had been faster than expected.
“It’s really special, obviously, it’s only my fourth win anyway in F1, after a 2018 without victories, even better, very, very happy.”
“But it does not happen like that, obviously there is a lot of work to be able to win, and to be able to do it in that kind of pace.”
“Obviously, in order to win, you need a fast car, and as a team we have been able to do it After some rather difficult winter tests, maybe here it’s faster than expected, I made it possible for myself, I must say it’s the best I’ve had a career so far in my career. ”
Bottas agreed that the result would give him a boost to his confidence,
“In sport and especially in this sport, the confidence you get from the results is huge, and it can increase a lot.
“Although there will be difficult moments during each season, you always remember the good ones and you get stronger knowing that you can do something, like today”.