Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas was born on 28 August 1989 in the former municipality of Finland called Nastola, now merged with the city of Lahti. Bottas spent his early life karting or driving on the ice and snow-laden tracks in Finland.

He was the second child of Rauno Bottas and Marianne Välimaa. He showed his love for racing and most importantly winning, early in his childhood. While his father owns a small cleaning company his mother is an undertaker.

Valtteri Bottas’ Career Before Formula 1

Early career

Bottas started karting by the time he was six years of age. He won race after race and his successes were noticed by the coaches of the National Karting team. He won a place in Finland’s National Karting team. He was a member of the team for 7 years.

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sunday - Valtteri Bottas
2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sunday – Valtteri Bottas

In the 2005 Karting World Cup, Bottas finished eighth for the GDB racing team. He was using a Gillard chassis with a Parilla engine. He won numerous other races over the following years. Bottas was reputed for gathering points during a season.

Formula Renault and Formula Three

In 2007, Valtteri Bottas decided to compete in single-car racing. It is only because he did not have an MSA-registered licence that year, that he did not win the 2007 Formula Renault UK Winter Series. Nevertheless, he competed in the series and won three of the five races.

Valtteri Bottas won the 2008 Formula Renault Cup, his first championship in single-seat motor racing. He followed it with a thumping victory in the 2008 Northern European Cup. In doing so, he emulated the accomplishments of Filipe Albuquerque. Albuquerque had won the two titles in the 2006 season.

2009 saw the reigning champions, ART Grand Prix, signing Valtteri Bottas for Formula Three racing after watching his performances and noting his tenacity. Bottas finished third that season in the Euroseries despite not winning a single race.

He had not won a race in the Euroseries but had set up two pole positions and won several podium positions. He had also prevented Alexander Sims of BMW-Andretti from winning the third position that season.

The Williams Formula One team opened the gateway for Bottas to Formula One racing in 2010, when they offered him a position as a test driver. He continued as a test driver for Williams during 20011 and 2012 and took part in 15 Friday Free Practice sessions.

Meanwhile, Bottas continued racing in Formula Three as a member of the ART squad. In the 2011 GP3 series Bottas had a bad start to the season. But he came back from behind winning the last four weekend races. He won the title in the penultimate race edging pout his teammate James Calado.

Valtteri Bottas’ Career In Formula 1

On 12 November 2012, Valtteri Bottas learned that his time had come to race in Formula One for Williams-Renault alongside Pastor Maldonado. The Finn was elated and prepared for his sojourn in Formula One racing.

Williams: 2013-2016

Bottas’ first Formula One race was on 17 March 2013, the Australian Grand Prix. Bottas finished 16th ahead of his teammate Maldonado. He continued finishing in the bottom half of the races through most of the season. He won his first Formula One points when he finished eighth at the United States Grand Prix.

In November 2013, Bottas was confirmed with the Williams team for the ensuing season. He would now partner Filipe Massa. At the first race of the season in Australia, Bottas qualified 16th and finished 5th. He continued to finish in the top half for the best part of the season.

Bottas achieved his first podium position at the Canadian. In Austria, the Finn earned his first podium position after he finished third behind Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. He achieved another podium position in the very next race, the British Grand Prix, by finishing second. He won three more podium positions in Belgium, Russia and Abu Dhabi to finish fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.

Both Williams and Bottas did not live up to their aspirations in 2015, Bottas won two podium positions in Canada and Mexico. Williams lost out to Renault in development. Bottas missed another podium finish in Russia when Kimi Räikkönen collided with him on the final lap. But Bottas finished the Drivers’ Championship in a creditable fifth place.

The 2016 season was also not memorable for Bottas. He emulated his previous year’s feat again at the Canadian Grand Prix by winning the third podium position. That was the only podium finish for Williams that season but Bottas finished eighth in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of Philipe Massa, his teammate.

Mercedes: 2017-2021

On 16 January 2017 came the announcement by Mercedes that they had signed Valtteri Bottas for the 2017 season. Bottas was going to replace Nico Rosberg and race for Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton, the present-day legend.

In 2017, Bottas finished 3rd in his first race for Mercedes, the Australian Grand Prix, finishing behind Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. In Bahrain, he achieved his career’s first pole position ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton but finished third because of tyre problems.

He became the fifth Finn to win a Grand Prix his first when he won the Russian Grand Prix on 30 April 2017. Bottas continued his good form finishing second in Canada. He again came in second in Azerbaijan despite a collision with Kimi Räikkönen which had left him to recover from the last place.

Bottas’ winning the pole position and his second Grand Prix at Azerbaijan put him just 15 points behind Hamilton in the Championship. Finishing 2nd in Britain and third again in 3rd in Belgium he again came back strongly in Singapore to finish 3rd. He finished the Championship in the third position even as Mercedes won their fourth Manufacturers’ Championship in a row.

Although Bottas started poorly at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix, he came back strongly in Bahrain, finishing second behind Sebastian Vettel and ahead of Hamilton. Bottas finished second in China after a car collision and not being able to take a pit stop for a tyre change.

At Baku, Bottas ran over a piece of debris and suffered a tyre puncture. In the 2018 season, Bottas became the first Mercedes driver to finish without a win since Michael Schumacher in 2012. His 7, second-place finishes were also a record for the most second-place finishes in Formula One without winning a race.

In 2019, Bottas won the Australian Grand Prix in style overtaking his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, on Turn 1 and holding his position till the end. While Hamilton and Bottas finished first and second in Bahrain and China, Mercedes notched their third successive 1-2 win at the beginning of the season.

Bottas and Hamilton repeated their performance in Azerbaijan and Spain winning first and second places in that order after both of them were locked out in the pole position. It was Mercedes’ consecutive one-two win for the fifth time at the beginning of the Championship.

At Monaco, Bottas broke his streak of three continuous pole positions and surrendered it to Hamilton. He finished the race in the third position behind Hamilton and Vettel. In Britain, Bottas again secured the pole position in front of Hamilton. However, the intervention of the safety car gave Hamilton a chance and Bottas finished second.

Bottas crashed in the wet conditions at the German Grand Prix and retired at the Hungarian Grand Prix after a collision with Charles Leclerc. After the summer break, during which his contract with Mercedes for 2020 was renewed, Bottas won the Japanese Grand Prix.

He crashed in Mexico but finished the race in third place after recovering. He won the United States Grand Prix clinching his third career win in Formula One. However, Lewis Hamilton’s second podium finish dashed any hopes that Bottas had of winning his first Drivers’ Championship.

After an engine failure in Brazil, Bottas finished 4th in Abu Dhabi, the last race of the season. Bottas finished the season with four wins and 15 podium finishes, the most successful season of his career He ended the season placed second in the championship.

Taking the pole position at the first Grand Prix of the 2020 Formula One season, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria, Bottas led the race from start to finish. The FIA revealed that Mercedes and Bottas were under investigation for potential breach of COVID-19 safety protocols. Both were later absolved of any wrongdoing.

Bottas finished 2nd on a wet Styrian track after Hamilton, which reduced his championship lead to six points. After a false start at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Bottas recovered to finish third but conceded championship points lead to Hamilton.

Tyre failure cost Bottas the British Grand Prix win in Britain where Hamilton prevailed over him. Both the Mercedes cars had tyre problems at the subsequent 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and Max Verstappen took the advantage to win the race. Bottas arrived in third after Hamilton.

At the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Bottas had dropped to third place in the championship rankings. Bottas qualified second in Spain but finished third behind Max Verstappen. While he qualified second in Belgium and held his position till the finish, he lost his second position in Italy and finished fifth.

Max Verstappen’s retirement during the Italian Grand Prix enabled Bottas to regain his second place behind Hamilton in the championship. Bottas lost the lead he had gained during the first lap at the Tuscan Grand Prix to Lewis Hamilton after the race was red-flagged following a multi-car crash. Bottas eventually finished second.

Bottas benefited from the penalties issued to Hamilton during the Russian Grand Prix and finished first. Hamilton again overtook Bottas, who was leading the race at the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, and the latter had to retire due to power issues.

The Finn finished second at both the Portuguese and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix. In the rain-plagued Turkish Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas spun six times before persisting on the track and finishing second, a lap after the winner, Lewis Hamilton.

At the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Bottas was in the second spot in the championship rankings with 201 points to Verstappen’s 189.

Bottas would finish the 2020 F1 season standings in second place with 223 points, ahead of Max Verstappen who had 214.

In 2021 Bottas had a difficult time and was off the pace early in the season, leading to speculation about his seat for 2022.

Ultimately Bottas didn’t have his contract renewed, and was replaced by George Russell. The Finn will spend the 2022 season with Alfa Romeo after signing a multi-year contract with the Swiss outfit.