Valtteri Bottas




Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas long played second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, but recently he has taken the lead role at Alfa Romeo. That team will be known as Stake F1 team in 2024. The now 34-year-old Finn showed promise with Williams but could not quite live up to his promise with Mercedes. He was always in Hamilton's shadow. Since breaking away at the end of 2021, Bottas has been steady but hasn't produced anything spectacular in the midfield.

F1 Standings

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing255
2Lando NorrisMcLaren171
3Charles LeclercFerrari150
4Carlos SainzFerrari146
5Oscar PiastriMcLaren124
6Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing118
7George RussellMercedes AMG F1 team111
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG F1 team110
9Fernando AlonsoAston Martin F1 team45
10Lance StrollAston Martin F1 team23
11Nico HulkenbergHaas F122
12Yuki TsunodaVisa Cash App RB20
13Daniel RicciardoVisa Cash App RB11
14Oliver BearmanFerrari6
15Pierre GaslyAlpine F1 team6
16Kevin MagnussenHaas F15
17Alexander AlbonWilliams4
18Esteban OconAlpine F1 team3
19Guanyu ZhouStake F1 Team0
20Logan SargeantWilliams0
21Valtteri BottasStake F1 Team0

Cool Finn on the grid

Like many a Finnish Formula 1 driver before him, Valtteri has put himself on the radar by calmly churning out successes. The 2009 Formula 3 season ended in disappointment, but he still managed to give it a golden edge. Bottas won the Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort that year and the year after, and Williams offered him a place as a test driver. 

This partnership did not stop Bottas from competing in other classes, including the GP3 series with ART. This time the Finn did win the title, after which he made his debut in Formula 1 with Williams in 2013.

Alongside Pastor Maldonado, the cool Finn was clearly stronger and in his first season Bottas finished ahead of his teammate. A year later, the Venezuelan was pushed aside for Felipe Massa and the successes piled up. Bottas took several podiums in 2014 and secured fourth place in the championship. 

In the years that followed, Williams was still a team to be reckoned with. The now experienced Bottas and veteran Felipe Massa were formidable opponents in a car powered by the powerful Mercedes engine. Yet 2016 was disappointing and the first cracks in the Williams team became visible. Bottas, however, was unexpectedly handed a life saver by the Mercedes Formula One team.

A gift from Rosberg

After Nico Rosberg won the 2016 title, the German almost immediately threw in the towel and unexpectedly left Formula One. The cooperation with Lewis Hamilton had reached a low point several times in the meantime and driving alongside the Briton for another year did not seem like a good idea to Rosberg. Through the management of team boss Toto Wolff, Mercedes quickly found Bottas as a replacement.

In the first year, it looked good. The Finn won three races and finished third in the championship, so it seemed that he got the same chances as his teammate. A year later, it became clear that this was no longer the case. Bottas was repeatedly urged on the radio to let Hamilton pass. At the Russian Grand Prix, this even cost him victory.

In 2019, Bottas nevertheless seems reborn. Bottas 2.0 and 'Fear the Beard' are some of the terms circulating after a dominant performance in Melbourne. His contract with Mercedes was extended that year, but the title race faded out like a nightmare. Hamilton beats his teammate with ease. This will not change in 2020 when Hamilton is even more dominant and Bottas is almost beaten by Max Verstappen.

Bottas left Mercedes after five years

In 2021, Bottas will entered his fifth year as a driver for Mercedes. The pressure to produce strong results was great, and increased even more when Verstappen and Red Bull appeared to be a serious threat in the world championship.

Despite a third place in the championship, he disappointed his team at several crucial moments, and the knot was cut in the summer: Bottas made way for the Williams junior driver George Russell in 2022.

Valtteri Bottas in 2024

With that, Bottas was relegated back to midfield. He switched to Alfa Romeo, where he got rookie Guanyu Zhou as a teammate. It may have seemed like a step back for the Finn, but he thrives in an environment where his input is valued and where he does not drive in service of someone else. He helped Alfa Romeo to sixth place in the constructors' classification, marking a huge step for the team. In 2023, things dropped back. Alfa Romeo scored just 16 points, and ten of those came in two races. Bottas scored 10 points himself across the season. In 2024, Bottas will have to impress more if he wants to stay at the team when Audi arrive in 2026.