Valtteri Bottas has admitted he "performs better" when he knows what his future in Formula 1 holds, after recently securing a new contract with Mercedes.
Valtteri Viktor Bottas was born on August 28th 1989 in Nastola, Finland. At 29 years of age, he currently is in his ninth Formula 1 season. He currently drives for Mercedes AMG F1 after making his debut for Williams F1 in 2013.
He switched to Mercedes in 2017, replacing the retired Nico Rosberg at the time. Bottas won three Grands Prix in his first Mercedes season, but failed to add to that tally in 2018.
|Team||Mercedes AMG F1|
Valtteri Bottas: Early career
After karting for much of his youth, Bottas switched to Formula Renault in his late teens. In 2008, he won several titles in the series, prompting him to move up to Formula 3.
Despite not winning the championship, the young Bottas was competitive and was assigned test driver for Williams F1 in 2010.
Moving up to GP3 in 2011, secured the championship that year, winning races in the last four race weekends. He remained Williams’ test and reserve driver up until and including 2012. He partook in 15 Free Practice sessions during Grand Prix weekends in that final year.
Valtteri Bottas at Williams F1
Ahead of the 2013 season, Valtteri Bottas got promoted to have a permanent seat at Williams F1. He replaced Bruno Senna and teamed up with the race winning Pastor Maldonado.
Williams struggled all season, with Bottas not scoring his first F1 points until the penultimate round in the United States. He finished in P8, scoring four points compared to Maldonado’s one point.
2014 was Bottas’ break-out year. He finished on the podium six times and finished third in the championship, ahead of the likes of Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. He was also comfortably ahead of new teammate Felipe Massa. Williams finished third in the constructors’ championship.
The same went for 2015 for Williams. Bottas added two more podium finishes in Canada and Mexico and the Grove-based team finished third again, ending fifth in the championship. Bottas established himself as one of the best young drivers in F1 as he continued to outperform Massa in 2016, despite Williams’ performance levels dropping. Bottas impressively managed another podium in Canada, his last for Williams.
Valtteri Bottas switches to Mercedes
After the 2016 season, newly crowned world champion Nico Rosberg suddenly announced his retirement from F1, leaving Mercedes scrambling for a new driver.
They soon targeted Bottas and signed the Finn, who was released from Williams to make it happen. Valtteri Bottas dominated F1 news, as he’d be the new team mate and rival of Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, the dominant team in the sport.
Bottas was the second driver at Mercedes, however, often being used to help Hamilton win races over rival Sebastian Vettel. Still, Bottas won his first-ever race in Russia, and added two more races in Austria and Abu Dhabi. He finished on the podium ten more times besides the wins and finished third in the championship.
Only champion Lewis Hamilton and Vettel in second were ahead of him. Bottas also won his first-ever constructors’ championship with Mercedes.
2018 was a very tough year for Bottas. He was unlucky not to win at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as his tyre punctured just three laps before the end of the race he was leading. In Russia, Bottas put his car on pole position again and was in first place for the bulk of the race. However, he was ordered to let Hamilton past at the end, leaving him empty-handed.
He ended 2018 without any wins and in fifth place in the championship, leaving many to question his ability to be a Mercedes driver.
As is mandatory in Finland, Bottas has served in the Finnish army, earning the rank of Lance corporal. He comes from relatively humble beginnings, with father Rauno owning a cleaning company and mother Marianne Välimaa being un undertaker.
Valtteri Bottas married his girlfriend Emilia Pikkarainen, a Finnish Olympic swimmer, in September 2016. Bottas’ net worth is estimated to be around $20 million.
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