Valtteri Bottas

After working as an understudy tPastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna in 2012, Valtteri Bottas made his race debut for Williams in 2015. Highly respected within the team, expectations were high for his debut year and he showed enough during a tough campaign to be retained for a second season.

He made an immediate mark in his early career when, in 2007 at the age of 17, he won two Formula Renault races, and the following year he won both the Formula Renault Eurocup and the Formula Renault Northern European Cup.

In 2009 he moved up to the Formula 3 Euroseries, finishing third in the championship. Although he did not win a race during that series, he did win the Masters of Formula 3 event, setting the fastest lap and taking pole in the process. He repeated his victory in 2010 by which time he had been signed by Williams as a test driver.

In 2011 he switched to GP3 and, driving for Lotus ART, he made an indifferent start before wins on each of the last four weekends secured him the title. That was enough to gain him a reserve driver seat with Williams.

With in-season testing banned, Bottas was given plenty of mileage in the 2012 Williams by taking part in 15 FP1 sessions in Senna’s car. Having been signed for his first season as a race driver, Bottas had high hopes of a strong year.

“As a team I think we should be aiming to score more points than this year and really get the most out of the car,” he said after signing. “Personally I hope to look back and feel that I have learnt a lot and developed as a driver over the course of the season, having scored a lot of points for the team.”

The optimism was understandable as he was one of the better prepared rookies on the 2015 grid but an uncompetitive car meant he was unable to score until the penultimate race of the season. His four points were still better than team-mate Pastor Maldonado’s one, and after flashes of brilliance such as his third place on the grid in Canada he was retained for another year to try and help the team recover in 2015.

Strengths and Weaknesses
Like the Finns that have gone before him in F1, he is a cool character who takes his racing seriously and has shown dedication to reach to the top level. Weaknesses are few and far between but ahead of the step up to F1 he did not compete in a junior series meaning his race craft could be a bit rusty.

Career High
Dominating the GP3 Series in 2011 marked him out as a star of the future.

Career Low
Crashing out of the F3 Macau Grand Prix in 2011 while in contention for victory. It proved to be his last attempt to win the prestigious race after missing out in 2009 and 2010 as well.

Quotes
“Once I get to drive more, with mileage and experience, then I can do some good things.”

“Physics still exists, if you have lighter car with less fuel it goes a bit quicker!” – Bottas on why his Williams wasn’t at the top of the timesheets at his first test in 2015.

Trivia
Bottas is something of a sensation on the micro-blogging website Twitter with #BOTTAS trending on numerous occasions. The origins of the capped-up hashtag appear to be linked to an Autosport magazine headline that simply read “BOTTAS” across two pages.

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