If a young Valtteri Bottas and his dad hadn’t spotted the sign for a go-kart race in Finland, then the Alfa Romeo driver may never have got on track, let alone partnered Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
In the latest podcast from our My big break series, Bottas joins Chris Medland to reveal the make-or-break moments that brought him to Formula 1. He explains the key role that porridge power played ahead of his go kart debut, the local sponsors that bankrolled his fresh tyres, and the tests that took him from the Finnish go-karting championship to an F1 seat with Williams — via a rocky GP3 season.
When Nico Rosberg retired from F1, Bottas moved from to Mercedes — and he suggests that he used his own money to buy out the Williams contract — only to be handed the Herculean task of being team-mate to Hamilton. Bottas describes how it took its toll, and reveals that he was on the brink of quitting at the end of the 2018 season before a restorative walk in a Finnish forest saw him change his mind.
Now at Alfa Romeo, Bottas talks of the hope that he can win again with the team. “I don’t see a limit,” he says. “I’m absolutely loving F1.”
Nb This podcast includes one example of colourful language