F1 star Valtteri Bottas has in recent months seemed to radiate racing with his female friend, top Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell.

According to IS's messages from Bottas' close circle, Bottas is now happier than ever, downright euphoric.

There are also tracks on the track.

Last weekend, millions of F1 fans witnessed Bottas raging his Mercedes to win both the time trials and the 71-lap Austrian race.

The depot area in Spielberg, which was normally teeming with eye-catching public figures and drivers ’spouses, was exceptionally quiet.

However, Bottas ’beloved Tiffany was present. The couple, living in their honeymoon phase, were seen fumbling openly in the track area during the first race weekend of the season.

Ilta-Sanomat asked three merited sports psychologists how falling in love, happiness and a balanced private life affect the performance of a top athlete.

- There is a paradox that you have to dare to lose in order to succeed. If a person is in love or happy and life is in balance, then the significance of loss or failure decreases, says sports psychologist and former top hockey player Tuomas Grönman.

Succeeding in sports is the sum of many factors, but a balanced private life and well-functioning relationships, experts say, play an important role.

Experts emphasize with one voice that effective interpersonal relationships, for example, help to recover from stressful sports performance.

- For a top athlete, the athlete’s identity is usually really strong. Alongside that, it’s good to be balancing other roles in life. It is an important resource if you can also experience yourself as a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or even a godfather, says Hannaleen Ronkainen, a sports psychologist at the Olympic Committee.

- It is good that there is more to the mind than sports. Healthy relationships are important and you can truly feel and be seen as someone other than an athlete, Ronkainen continues.

The lovers spent the coron spring in Bottas' native landscapes in Nastola and in a Lapland wilderness cottage with a common cycling hobby.

Nastolalainen has also said that he is in better physical condition than ever before. It has been helped that the training companion of the cycling F1 ace is a tough professional.

- Yes, it helps. We have been able to do almost all the workouts in a bunch, Bottas revealed to Ilta-Sanomat a week ago.

Bottas has always been in great shape, but now he’s at his best in his career, as evidenced by a recent bike test.

Bottas told IS that his maximum oxygen uptake had improved by as much as 15 percent from previous tests.

- I do the test 1-2 times a year, and I did the previous one late last year. That’s what it seems to do when you don’t have to travel time and stress all the time. Now he was able to practice systematically for a long time, in addition to which there was time to recover, Bottas said.

According to Grönman, the athlete will start to squeeze the steering wheel easily if the importance of loss is emphasized. The pursuit of happiness or success can become an obstacle, and often a person achieves exactly what he or she dares to give up.

- If a top athlete hits everything in the game and there is no other content in life, then you might think you have to succeed. The significance of the loss and the pressures will become too great if the performance of the sport begins to determine how good Grönman, who works as a person, sports and occupational health psychologist, says.

Grönman says that an athlete who has lost self-confidence easily drifts into a negative circle.

- The core of cognitive psychology is thinking, feeling and behaving. Uncertain thinking is followed by an uncertain feeling that leads to an uncertain performance, the former NHL player says.

Niilo Konttinen, a leading expert at the Research Center for Racing and Top Sports, has worked with rally drivers and hockey players, among others.

According to Konttinen, it is clear that civilian life cannot be separated from the work of a top athlete.

- In sports, the whole matters. From a psychological point of view, human performance is affected by many things, but things outside of sports are always reflected in one way or another in performance, Konttinen says.

Last season, a new side of Bottas was revealed.

Criticized by excessive courtesy, the more meticulous and straightforward driver hatched. He was nicknamed the Evil Bottas.

At the end of the season, he divorced his wife Emilia Pikkarainen.

This season, the threat has gone and the farm has a serenely calm but victorious and determined top driver.

- Bottas' backgrounds are fine. It certainly affects him to get his potential very well. We are driven by different motives. Some of them make us approach things and some avoid us. In this state, he is able to focus on the essentials and approach the pressured competitive situation so that he gets the most out of the psyche, Konttinen continues.

Ronkainen, a sports psychologist at the Olympic Committee, says that when things are going well on the interpersonal front, the mind is lighter and it shows in performance.

- From a performance perspective, mental stress is a stressful factor and difficulties in interpersonal relationships can have a negative impact. Top sports require a lot from your spouse as well. Top sports are holistic, require discipline and a strict schedule. It is important that the spouse also understands the laws of top sports, Ronkainen comments.

The beloved Tiffany, who runs alongside Bottas, is himself a successful athlete in extreme performance road cycling. In his career, he has won, among other things, two stages of touring Italy.

This weekend, we’ll see if Bottas ’charm continues in Austria’s second race as well. According to Konttinen, who follows motorsports, it will be interesting to see how Hamilton will be able to meet the challenge posed by Bottas in the next race.

- Bottas' success will certainly affect Hamilton's performance, as the teammate of a driver accustomed to winning is now ahead. Bottas has a lot of opportunities ahead of him, Hamilton has a championship to defend and more to lose, Konttinen weighs.

Happy Bottas

Photo: Mark Thompson / AFP / Journal

Valtteri Bottas celebrated the victory of the opening race of the season in Austria after leading the race from start to finish.

Photo: Mark Thompson / AFP / Journal

Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva, Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva, Harri Kapustamäki / KIHU