Valtteri Bottas

Points 49 Position 10 Date of Birth August / 28 / 1989
Place of Birth Nastola Team Alfa Romeo Car Number 77

Valtteri Bottas, the ninth Finnish driver to race in Formula 1, has been on the grid since 2013. In that time, he has driven for Williams before replacing the retired 2016 World Champion, Nico Rosberg, at Mercedes.

Renowned for his composed driving style and his cool head under pressure, the Finn has forged a reputation as one of the best drivers on the grid, being quicker than most on his day and rarely making costly mistakes.

Bottas failed to put together a title challenge at Mercedes in his time there between 2017-21, but now has a new project as he looks to inspire a rise up the grid for Alfa Romeo and become the fourth Finnish World Champion. Even if he fails to do so, he has already achieved enough to go down as one of the best his nation has ever produced.

Career

After being the team's test driver in 2012, Bottas was given a full-time race seat at Williams in 2013. In a car not quick enough to fight for points, the Finn impressed nonetheless, with the highlight qualifying P3 at the Canadian Grand Prix. He scored his first points in the penultimate race of the season when he finished P8 in Austin, ensuring he came P17 in the World Championship, three points ahead of team-mate Pastor Maldonado.

In 2014 he was given a far better car and made the most of it. After finishing in the points in six of the first seven races, he then went on an excellent run to get his first three podiums in his next three races - his charge in Silverstone from P14 to P2 being one of his best drives ever. He would go on to stand on the podium three more times that season, in Spa, Sochi and Abu Dhabi, to end the season P4 in the Championship with 186 points.

2015 saw Williams fall down the pecking order in terms of pace, but Bottas enjoyed another successful season. After missing the first race of the season due to a back injury, he then finished in the top six in seven of the next eight races, bagging a podium in Montreal. He remained consistent for the rest of the season, finishing on the podium again in Mexico and beating team-mate Felipe Massa for the second straight year with 136 points and a P5 finish in the championship.

Compared to his previous two years, 2016 proved to be a disappointing one for Bottas. He managed to finish races in the top six just six times, with his sole podium coming at arguably his best track,  Circuit-Gilles Villeneuve at the Canadian Grand Prix. However, his driving was still good enough to earn himself a dream move.

With Nico Rosberg retiring, the Finn was chosen to replace him and, for the first time in his F1 career, found himself in a championship-winning car at Mercedes. It took him just four races to use it to get his first-ever win as he fought off the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel to stand on the top step of the podium. While he didn't have the pace to beat the German or his fellow Silver Arrow team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, over the course of the season, he still ended the campaign with three wins, four pole positions, 13 podiums and 305 points.

He was unable to build on this success in 2018, however, failing to win a single race in a car more than capable of doing so. This was sometimes down to bad luck, as shown in Shanghai, where a poorly-timed Saftey Car denied him victory, and Baku, where he picked up a puncture while leading with just two laps to go. Nevertheless, he drew criticism from many for his safe, risk-free driving style, epitomised by the race in Bahrain where he chose not to try and pass Vettel for the win in the closing stages, despite being far quicker. Mercedes, though, elected to ignore the critics and give Bottas a new contract, easing the pressure on the Finn, who ended the season in P5, 161 points behind Hamilton.

He rewarded Mercedes for the faith they showed in him by achieving his most successful season to date in 2019. He won two of the first four races to briefly top the standings and spark discussions of a title challenge. These discussions quickly died out though as he failed to cross the line first for the next 12 races. However, in that time he still managed to get eight podiums to ensure he stayed ahead of every driver in the standings with the exception of fellow Mercedes man Hamilton. Two wins in the last five races of the season gave Bottas his best ever points total to date, 326, and a first-ever top-two finish in the championship.

P2 was again where Bottas found himself at the end of 2020, though he achieved 103 points fewer than the season prior. He got off to a flying start by winning the eventful season opener in Austria and went on to finish on the podium a further 10 times, including victory in Russia. However, he truly never came close to challenging his team-mate Hamilton and instead found himself fighting with Max Verstappen for second place.

Questions were truly asked of the Finn when Williams' George Russell stepped in for Lewis Hamilton and outshone Bottas in Sakhir, sparking discussions that the Brit should have his seat. Mercedes though continued to back Bottas for 2021.

After enjoying dominant machinery in the form of the W11, 2021 saw Mercedes hampered by the new aerodynamic regulations, dropping them back into the clutches of Red Bull and closer to the midfield pack. This would be bad news for Bottas.

While Hamilton and Verstappen set about constructing an all-time classic title battle, Bottas initially started in decent enough fashion, taking three podiums in the opening four races.

P3 at the Bahrain, Portuguese and Spanish GPs were all respectable results, with Bottas also taking pole in Portugal, but his Imola DNF in Round 2 proved the first sign of issues to come.

Bottas would be involved in a heavy tangle with Russell, leaving both drivers out of the race and Russell furious, who later was put back in his place by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

People questioned though why Bottas was even needing to defend position at the tail-end of the points anyway, in a race where Hamilton would finish P2.

Bottas would pick up another seven podiums across the season and a solitary victory in Turkey, on a weekend where he truly was the class of the field, but on multiple occasions Bottas drew criticism for struggling to make progress when down in the midfield.

Nonetheless, with Sergio Perez over at Red Bull also struggling for consistency, Bottas was doing enough to keep Mercedes very much in the Constructors' title hunt, even if a bid for the Drivers' crown never looked like materialising.

Unfortunately for Bottas, Mercedes junior Russell was enjoying the strongest campaign of his Formula 1 career over at Williams, leaving Wolff with a decision to make for 2022 since both Bottas and Russell were coming to the end of their respective contracts.

Hamilton hailed Bottas as the best team-mate he has ever had in F1, but in the end that praise did not save Bottas, with the Finn's switch to Alfa Romeo for the following season announced in September.

Performances like Turkey lived up to Bottas' promotion of how driving without the pressure was helping him, but it was a similar story of failing to find that form consistently, in fact it did not return that season.

For Bottas the closing rounds became all about helping Hamilton secure the Drivers' title, and while Hamilton was unsuccessful in that quest, Bottas' final tally of 226 points did help Mercedes to their eighth Constructors' title in succession.

Nonetheless, Bottas was a mighty 161.5 points behind Hamilton in the final standings.

 

History

Like most, Bottas began his journey to Formula 1 in karting at the of six, winning various championships, spending seven years in Finland's National Karting Squad and competing in the Karting World Cup in 2005.

He then made the move to single-seaters and won both the Formula Renault Eurocup and Northern European Cup in 2008, getting 17 wins in 28 races. After this, he began to race in Formula 3, continuing to impress by becoming the first and only ever driver to win the Masters of Formula 3 title twice, in 2009 and 2010, finishing P3 in the F3 Championship in the latter year.

This earned him a move to GP3 where he went on to win the 2011 Championship with Lotus ART, winning four times in the last four races of the season. At the same time, he joined the Formula 1 paddock, becoming Williams' test driver, and opted not to compete in any championships in 2012 in order to fully focus on his role as the team's reserve. The decision paid off, as he impressed enough to be given a race seat for the 2013 season.

Outside of racing, he also served in the Finnish army, as is compulsory for men in the country, and earned the military rank of Corporal.

Bottas is believed to have a net worth of around £15million, as per celebritynetworth.com, which comes from various places, including sponsorship and, of course, his past Mercedes deals.

Rolling one-year contracts were a feature of Bottas' time at Mercedes, with his final deal in 2021 apparently the most lucrative of all, earning him a reported £6.1million, not including performance-based bonuses.

Details on how much his new multi-year Alfa Romeo contract will pay are yet to arrive.

Bottas is sponsored by Finnish security company ABLOY, who began to sponsor him in 2019, as well as Finnish sport technology company Polar.

Finnish private jet firm Insijets are also a sponsor for Bottas, with Bottas using their services during the off-season and for travel for both business and leisure purposes as their ambassador.

Bottas previously had a long-term partnership in place with Wihuri, but they withdrew their sponsorship due to his "weak results" in 2018, and it is widely believed that his "to whom it may concern, f*ck you" radio message after his win in Australia at the start of 2019, was addressed to them.

In 2010, Bottas met Finnish Olympic swimmer Emilia Pikkarainen on a talk show and the two began to date before getting married in 2016, becoming Finland's most high profile couple.

In late 2019 however, a story was released in the press that claimed the couple had separated and divorced. In response, Bottas took to his social media channels, saying: "Unfortunately I have to share you the news that the marriage between Emilia and myself has come to an end.

"Our ways have split because of the challenges my career and life situation bring and we think this is the best for both of us and our future lives, so we are separating as friends.

"I will be forever thankful for all the sacrifices she had to make for me, for her support during many years and for all the experiences that we have had together.

"I trust that you will respect both of us and our privacy regarding this matter. This will be all I have to say and comment regarding our divorce."

In their time together, the two did not have any children.

Bottas announced his relationship with Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell on Valentine's Day 2020 via Instagram and Twitter.  Cromwell also posted, saying “And to whom it may concern… we’re happy and that’s all that matters to us.”

A regular face in the F1 paddock, Cromwell even got the chance to sit in Bottas' Mercedes W12 at the 2021 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Bottas' final race weekend with the team.

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