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The latest ‘Flying Finn’ has had a career that many other drivers would be jealous of so far, yet, the moment he calls it a day he might still find himself wondering “what might have been”.
World Championships 🏆
Race Wins 🏁
Debut Race 🏎️
17th March 2013 (Australia)
Having driven the dominant Mercedes cars for years, he switched to Alfa Romeo-Sauber for the 2022 season, wanting to get a go on the Ferrari engines for the first time in his career. He remains with the team for 2023, although his future might be in doubt as Alfa Romeo pulls out of F1 in the end of the season.
Did Bottas lose his big F1 chance?
- 1 Did Bottas lose his big F1 chance?
- 2 From a humble family to F1
- 3 F1 Icon inspires Bottas: Junior Racing Career
- 4 What 2023 holds in store for Bottas?
Bottas first signed for an F1 team a decade ago, joining Williams for the 2013 F1 season. The historic team, having returned to the top step of the podium in 2012 with Pastor Maldonado’s win in Spain, suffered an underwhelming 2013, as they put all their powers on a comeback in 2014, aiming to take advantage of the new regulations. Thus, the 2013 car was a backmarker with Bottas and Maldonado struggling for points. Bottas ended the season with just an eight finish in the USA Grand Prix.
A solid three-year stretch for Bottas and Williams
For 2014, Bottas got a new teammate in experienced Felipe Massa, and Williams got the new dominant Mercedes V6 engine. The Mercedes engine, accompanied with a very quick car in straigthlines made a very strong package, capable of podiums. Bottas finished the season in 4th in the championship, picking up 6 podiums and finishing runner-up twice, in Great Britain and Germany.
Next season, Williams remained a good challenger, despite some other top teams catching up. Bottas managed to finish 5th this time, with two podiums in his name, with third places in Canada and Mexico.
In 2016, he and Massa remained in Williams and enjoyed another good season, as the other teams where catching up even more. This time Bottas got just one podium in Canada once again and finished the season in 8th place in the championship.
Move to Mercedes, First Wins for Bottas, and Move to Alfa Romeo
For the 2017 season, major aerodynamic changes where set to be introduced in F1’s cars. Bottas was set to remain with Williams, although his big chance came when world champion Nico Rosberg announced his immediate retirement from F1, prompting Mercedes to look for a new driver. Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ team principal, was also a shareholder of Williams and trusted on Bottas to take the vacant Mercedes seat.
With the dominant Mercedes in his hand, Bottas picked up his first ever F1 win in Russia, followed by wins in Austria and Abu Dhabi. Despite that, Bottas couldn’t compete with teammate Lewis Hamilton and finished third in the championship, behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel too.
In 2018, Bottas remained with Mercedes, although his form took a big dip. He didn’t manage to take wins despite the car’s competitiveness and he pretty much played the second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton, with the team often counting on him to cut points from Hamilton’s opponents. He finished the season in a disappointing 5th place in the championship.
For 2019, there was a sense that more of the same would continue, but Bottas surprised the opposition, by leading the championship after four rounds with wins in Australia and Azerbaijan. However, his form deteriorated once again and despite being a regular in the podium, managed only two more victories later in the year when the championship was within his teammate’s grasp. 2019 was his best year in F1, though, ending the season with 326 points.
In 2020, despite speculation, Bottas remained with Mercedes and begun the season victorious in Austria. Although, once again he failed to be a major contender for the championship, picking up just one more win in his favourite track in Sochi, Russia. Despite George Russel’s emergence as a competitor for Bottas’ seat at Mercedes, the team kept faith in Bottas for the 2021 season. But this season Mercedes had a genuine rival in the championship in Red Bull and Max Verstappen. Bottas’ form showed signs of drop once again, and he picked just one win in the Turkish Grand Prix. His inability to cut points from Verstappen more regularly led Mercedes to not renew his contract for 2022.
Bottas made a fresh start in 2022, signing for the Alfa Romeo-Sauber team, replacing Kimi Raikkonen. It was the first time he was racing with Ferrari engines, and he relished the chance. Although Alfa wasn’t as a competitive car as the Mercedes he was driving for half a decade, he started the season with some solid points finishes. In the second half of the season, though, the team left behind in development and points were harder to come, with just two more points finishes. He finished the season 10th, beating his rookie teammate, Zhou Guanyu with ease. For 2023, he remains in Alfa Romeo alongside Zhou, hoping for more strong showings.
“But I want 26 points”: Bottas’ stellar performance at Melbourne 2019
Having taken much criticism for his mediocre performances in 2018, Bottas wanted to reinvent himself in 2019. It was the season when the point for the fastest lap returned to F1 after an absence of 60 years. Bottas started the first race of the new year in second place, behind teammate Hamilton but, after a better start than Hamilton, managed to pass him on the first corner. From this point on he drove a beautiful race, controlling the pace with ease.
In the end of the race he asked if the team was going to pit him to fresh tyres, so he can challenge for the fastest lap, which was already his. The team refused to take the risk of pitting Bottas, but Bottas responded on the radio that he wasn’t going to pit, but would give it a go for the fastest lap in the final lap because he “wanted 26 points” from the race. So he did, getting the fastest lap from himself and solidifying probably his best drive in F1.
From a humble family to F1
Bottas was born in Nastola, Finland. Unlike most F1 drivers, Bottas isn’t a descent of a prosperous family, but has far more humble roots. His father owns a small cleaning company in Finland and his mother is an undertaker.
Bottas has a passion for sports in general and a big love for cycling. He organizes annualy a Duathlon in Finland for charity ever since 2017. He is also the co-onwer of a coffe roastery in his native Finland, under the name “Kahiwa Cofee Roasters”.
A marriage, a divorce and a new beginning
Bottas is a relatively stable person in his relationships. He dated his fellow Finnish girlfriend Emilia Pikkarainen, an olympic swimmer, since 2010. Their relationship ended up in marriage in 2016, but they divorced in 2019, after they found their relationship challenging due to Bottas’ career. Since 2020 Bottas is in a relationship with Australian cyclist Tifanny Cromwell, often seen cycling together on social media.
Still one of F1’s top earners: Bottas’ Net Worth, Salary and Personal Information
Despite leaving Mercedes after the end of 2021, Bottas continued to earn a big salary in his new team, Alfa Romeo. Reportedly, he earns around $10 million per year, which is more than George Russel, his replacement in Mercedes, earns. His net worth is estimated somewhere between the figure of $20-30 million, according to multiple sources.
- Full name: Valtteri Viktor Bottas
- DOB: 28th August 1989
- Age: 33
- Place of Birth: Nastola, Finland
- Nationality: Finnish
- Team: Alfa Romeo F1 Team
- Race number: #77
F1 Icon inspires Bottas: Junior Racing Career
Bottas started karting in 2001, at the age of 6, after being inspired by double F1 world champion and compatriot, Mika Hakkinen. Coincidently, 2001 was Hakkinen’s last year in F1 and the beginning of Bottas road to F1. He won various Finnish karting championships and some international, before moving to Formula Renault 2.0, winning the championship in his second season.
His next step was Euro Formula 3, finishing third both in 2009 and 2010, but winning the non-championship event “Masters of Formula 3” which was held at Zandvort both seasons. At the same time he signed as a test driver for Williams in F1 and in 2011 he drove for Lotus ART in the GP3 series, winning once again. He spent the 2012 as a developement driver for Williams, before making his F1 debut in 2013.
What 2023 holds in store for Bottas?
As far as 2023 F1 season is concerned, Bottas remains with Alfa Romeo, which hopes to return to the pace they ‘ve shown in the beginning of 2022. Although, this seems difficult with the midfield in 2023 being more congested than ever, Bottas is still looking for another stable year.
Bookmakers give Bottas just 500/1 chance of winning the championship, as expected. Although, in comparison to other drivers, while admitting that it’s a tight encounter between Alfa Romeo, Williams, Haas and Alpha Tauri drivers, Bottas seems to have the edge. We will side up with the bookmakers on that and despite Mclaren’s woes early in the season, we expect them to come back, so Bottas’ finishing position should be the best out of the low midfield team drivers, in 13th.
A bright start at Bahrain for Bottas
Although, the 2023 Alfa Romeo car seemed to continue the underperfomance of the second half of last season, Bottas had a strong first race in Sakhir. Although, he didn’t manage to get the car in the Q2 in qualifying and finished 12th, he was still ahead of his teammate Zhou. In the race, though, Bottas managed to be the “best of the rest”, leading the midfield battle and losing only by the four dominant teams. He capitalised in top10 after Charles Leclerc’s and Esteban Ocon’s retirements and drove a beautiful race to come home in 8th, bringing up the first points of the year for Alfa Romeo.
A brutal fall from grace in Jeddah
Although in the podium in 2021, Bottas suffered a miserable time in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2023. Arriving in Jeddah confident after his points in Bahrain, Bottas had a tough qualifying session, with just 14th and losing to teammate Zhou. In the race he managed to retain his position in the first laps, but after this point he started droping all the way towards the back. The team reacted, pitting him for hard tyres and he fell in 18th and last. Saddly for him, he never recovered and had a really anonymous race, finishing 18th, the only driver to be lapped by winner Sergio Perez.
Bottas’ Australian Grand Prix comeback mission
Bottas arrived in Albert Park, eager to leave the dissapointment of Saudi Arabia behind him. Prior to the race, he seemed relaxed walking with flippers and a t-shirt moking his mullet hairstyle, speaking to the fans. Although relaxed, he didn’t have a good time in racing terms. In qualifying he suffered with the car and was slowest of every driver that managed to put a lap, finishing 19th. That prompted the team to change the setup of his suspension after the qualifying, something that ment that Bottas would automatically have to start from the pitlane. Bottas got out there in order to complete a comeback mission and he nearly made it. He survived all the chaos of the race and the two red flag restarts, getting up to 9th with 1 lap to go. But, after the race was red flagged once again the order was reshuffled as per the rules and Bottas ended the race in 11th position.
Just like Jeddah: Bottas strolling in the last places in Baku
After nearly getting in the points in Australia, Bottas wanted to return in the Top10 in Azerbaijan, at the Baku track that he famously won in in 2019. It was also a sprint weekend, providing more chances for points. In Friday’s qualifying session for Sunday’s race, Bottas managed to return to the Q2 and outqualified teammate Zhou, managing 14th position. The day after was sprint day and at the qualifying for the sprint, “The Sprint Shootout”, Bottas couldn’t replicate Friday’s performance, eliminated in Q1 and occupying 17th position, behind his teammate. He started 16th, after Logan Sargeant’s inability to race due to his previous SQ2 crash and pretty much ended the race in the same position as he and the team chose to run the soft tyres in the 17 lap race, with Bottas reporting that they “were melting”. But Sunday’s race wasn’t very different for Bottas, as he struggled massively with tyre wear once again and he fell in the last places again, driving a lonely race and pitting twice, finishing 18th, while Zhou retired with mechanical issues.
A good qualifying doesn’t end up in points in Miami
Bottas wanted to leave the Baku weekend behind and focus on the Miami grand prix, a “normal” and not a sprint weekend this time. From the get go he showed more speed in his Alfa Romeo and in qualifying he managed to make it on to the Q3 for the first time in 2023, finishing 10th. It was only normal to expect some points in the race, but it proved tricky. He started on mediums, and was intending to pit to the hards later in the race, as most of the grid. In the start he managed to overtake Esteban Ocon for 9th, but he soon lost that place again. He stayed where he started until his pitstop, where he fell in 16th and steadily picked up places as other drivers pitted. He dropped to 11th, after being passed by former teammate Lewis Hamilton on the Mercedes and couldn’t reach near the Top10 for the remainder of the race. In the last laps his tyres degraded and he lost out to Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll, too, finishing 13th.
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