Valtteri Bottas admitted it’s a “weird” feeling to know that 5,000 people now own a picture of his backside, but it has gone a long way for charity nonetheless.
Former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton said at the weekend that it was one of the best photos he had ever seen, which showed a bare-cheeked Bottas swimming in Aspen, Colorado, having stayed in America following the Miami Grand Prix.
His partner, professional cyclist Tiffany Cromwell took the picture and, such has been the social media reaction, the ‘like’ count on Instagram reached more than 420,000 at time of writing, with his previous post before that gaining around 22,000 likes.
After the photo went viral, he and Cromwell partnered with famous photographer Paul Ripke to put together a limited-edition print run of the photo which were then sold to raise money for charity.
A total of €50,000 is now heading to a good cause, but that didn’t stop the Alfa Romeo driver feeling slightly confused with just how successful the photo became – although the fundraising made it worthwhile.
— Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN (@alfaromeoorlen) May 24, 2022
“I still haven’t signed any, maybe in autograph session tomorrow [Sunday], maybe I’ll see some,” Bottas said in Spain, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“I was seeing some photos of people taking pictures, some have it in their living room or kitchen or bedroom.
“What is incredible that that’s like the power of social media. Like we got €50,000 for charity in 24 hours with a picture of somebody’s bum like this.
“It’s crazy. I don’t quite get it. But, you know, we make good.”
This wasn’t the first time Bottas has bared all in a public forum, with the third series of Netflix’s Drive to Survive capturing the Finn’s bottom on camera as he entered a sauna.
But after speaking to Ripke, who edited the photo and set up the plan to raise money for charity, it was all a very fast turnaround.
“The next day we decided we’d like to print something for charity, and we decided to do it,” he said. “And then it just went like ‘boom’.”
While it’s highly unlikely he will be selling off more prints, he added that anyone who has one now is “very lucky” to own a rare item.