Valtteri Bottas

Born:
28th August 1989 (Age 29)
Nastola, Parjanne Tavastia
Nationality:
Finnish
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Four seasons with Williams included finishing fourth overall in his sophomore 2014 campaign and led to Valterri Bottas having the most sought after if daunting prospect in modern Grand Prix racing – team-mate to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes-Benz from 2017.

Karting and early career

A successful karting career included finishing eighth in the 2005 Formula A World Championship at Braga. He switched to Formula Renault 2.0 two years later when he was third in the Northern European Cup for Koiranen Bros Motorsport. His second season in the category was with Motopark Academy and the young Finn won the Eurocup (beating Daniel Ricciardo by just three points) and NEC titles thanks to 17 race wins.

Having reportedly turned down a place in Renault’s young driver scheme, he graduated to the Formula 3 Euroseries in 2009 with team of the moment ART Grand Prix and a Dallara F308-Mercedes-Benz. He qualified on pole position twice but victory in a championship round remained elusive – the rookie finishing second at the Lausitzring, Zandvoort, Oschersleben, Nürburgring, Brands Hatch and Hockenheim. An impressive third in the final points (as team-mate Jules Bianchi was crowned champion), he converted another pole position to win the non-championship Zandvoort Masters.

Bottas started 2010 as the title favourite and repeated that Masters win to become the race’s first two-time winner. He also won at the Norisring and Oschersleben but third in the standings once more was something of a disappointment. He then switched from ART to Prema Powerteam to finish third in the end-of-season Macau GP. Bottas was already associated with Williams by now – working in its simulator during 2010.

GP3 title success and Formula 1 with Williams

Back with ART for the 2011 GP3 Series, Bottas recovered from a slow start to win races at the last four events to clinch the title with a round to spare. He also won a British F3 race at Donington on a one-off return to the category with Robertson Räikkönen Racing. The season ended with two days testing a Williams FW33-Cosworth at Abu Dhabi. That led to Bottas being named as Williams’ reserve driver for 2012 and he was its Friday test driver at 15 Grands Prix.

He was promoted to the race team in 2013 although the former champions were at a low ebb as it restructured its engineering team. Despite that, Bottas out-qualified more experienced team-mate Pastor Maldonado 11-8 (including starting an impressive third on the grid in Canada) and he finished eighth at Austin.

Fourth in the 2014 World Championship

The team was transformed in 2014 with Pat Symonds established as Chief Technical Officer, Mercedes-Benz engines powering the FW36 and Martini new title sponsors. Bottas responded by generally outperforming Ferrari refugee Felipe Massa as he finished an impressive fourth overall. He qualified on the front row and finished third in Austria before back-to-back second-place finishes at Silverstone and Hockenheim (from another front row start in Germany). Third again in Belgium, Russia and Abu Dhabi – Bottas appeared every inch a winner of the future.

Forced to miss the 2015 Australian GP with a back injury, Bottas returned two weeks later and was a regular in the top five both in qualifying and in the race – finishing third in Canada and Mexico. Another fine result was lost in Russia thanks to Kimi Räikkönen's overly optimistic overtaking manoeuvre and Bottas slipped to fifth overall (behind his compatriot) by the end of the season.

There were mid-season rumours of a move to Ferrari in 2016 but Bottas remained with Williams for a fourth season. The Williams FW38-Mercedes was not as competitive as its predecessors and Bottas dropped to eighth in the championship as a consequence. He overshadowed Massa once more (especially in qualifying) and employed a one-stop strategy to finish third in Canada.

Race winner for Mercedes-Benz

That was enough to earn a contract to race for Mercedes-Benz when World Champion Nico Rosberg retired immediately after clinching the title. Bottas began his first season alongside Hamilton in impressive form and initially held his own. On pole for round three in Bahrain, he scored a popular breakthrough victory next time out at Sochi. Second in Canada and (narrowly) in Baku, he converted another pole position into victory in Austria despite Sebastian Vettel’s pressure. On the podium for the next two races, Bottas suffered in comparison to his team-mate after the summer break. That said, he responded to a confidence-sapping run of races (although always top five at the finish) to qualify on pole in Brazil and win the Abu Dhabi finale.

Bottas finished third in the 2017 World Championship before enduring a difficult second season in Hamilton’s shadow. He would have won in Azerbaijan and Russia only to be denied by a puncture and team orders respectively. The Finn penned a one-year extension to his Mercedes deal in 2018, with an option to until 2020, despite slipping to fifth in the final standings.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2019 F1 World Championship
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
3 1 3 1
34% win rate
62
2018 F1 World Championship
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
21 2 8 0
0% win rate
5th 247
2017 F1 World Championship
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
20 4 13 3
15% win rate
3rd 305
2016 F1 World Championship
Williams Martini Racing
21 0 1 0
0% win rate
8th 85
2015 F1 World Championship
Williams Martini Racing
18 (1) 0 2 0
0% win rate
5th 136
2014 F1 World Championship
Williams Martini Racing
19 0 6 0
0% win rate
4th 186
2013 F1 World Championship
Williams F1 Team
19 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 4
2012 F1 World Championship
Williams F1 Team
0 (15) 0 0 0 0
2011 European F3 Championship
Raikkonen Robertson Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
2011 GP3 Series
Lotus ART
16 1 7 4
25% win rate
1st 62
2011 GP3 Series 1st -
2010 F3 Euroseries
ART Grand Prix
18 1 8 2
12% win rate
3rd 74
2009 F3 Euroseries
ART Grand Prix
20 2 6 0
0% win rate
3rd 62
2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup 1st -