Valtteri Bottas

Country: 
Full Name: 
Valtteri Bottas
Birth Date: 
27 August, 1989
Birth Place: 
Nastola
Driver Status: 
Current
Driver Height: 
173cm
Driver Weight: 
70kg
157
Races
9
Wins
16
Poles
0
Titles

Valtteri Bottas Biography

Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Driver

Valtteri Bottas Fast Facts

  • Mercedes F1 Team Launch 2012
  • Pre-F1 Career
  • F1 Williams (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • F1 Mercedes (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Rallying
  • Fast Facts

Valtteri Bottas F1 Career and Records Overview

Valtteri Bottas continues with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team for the 2021 F1 World Championship season, his fifth with the multiple title-winning constructor and his ninth in F1 total.

The Finn made his F1 debut with Williams in 2013 before making a surprise switch to Mercedes from 2017 in the wake of Nico Rosberg’s shock decision to retire in the days after clinching his one and only F1 title. 

To date [March 2021] Bottas has started 156 F1 races, won nine F1 races and 16 pole positions, all with Mercedes, plus 56 podiums (nine with Williams, 47 with Mercedes). 

He is equal-ninth on the all-time list of drivers with the most wins without an F1 title to his name and is just shy of the top ten for drivers with the most podiums in the history of F1.

Valtteri Bottas Net Worth: $20 million (source)
Valtteri Bottas Driver Salary: $11 million (source)
* third-party source

2021 Mercedes F1 Team Launch

 

Valtteri Bottas - Route to F1

Hailing from a nation known for producing some of F1’s most esteemed racers, while Finland’s Valtteri Bottas hasn’t yet emulated Kimi Raikkonen, Mika Hakkinen and Keke Rosberg by lifting the F1 drivers’ trophy, he remains one of the modern day’s most successful racers statistically.

While many of his countryman have pursued the rallying route - a discipline he also dabbles in - Bottas quickly found his groove in karting aged only six and became a stalwart of the national kart scene, securing multiple domestic crowns and going on to win the WSK International Series Formula A title in 2006.

Bottas made his car racing debut later that year in the Formula Renault NEC and the Formula Renault UK WInter Series and would have clinched the title but for holding the incorrect licence. 

The following year he competed full-time in both the 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and Eurocup Formula Renault, completing the rare feat of winning both series’ with Motopark Academy, with the latter achieved over future F1 rival Daniel Ricciardo after a tight title battle.

F3

His rapid ascensio culminated in him making his Formula 3 Euroseries debut in 2009 with multiple champions ART, where a winless season didn’t prevent him from impressing en route to third overall as the highest-placed rookie behind title winner and future F1 rival Jules Bianchi. He also made a name for himself with success in the one-off Masters of F3 at Zandvoort, as well as a top five finish in the Macau Grand Prix.

Sticking with the team for the following season, Bottas began the year as favourite but while he topped the podium for the first time (twice at Norisring and Oschersleben) he was destined for another third place finish overall behind champion Edoardo Mortara. 

However, a second consecutive Masters of F3 crown and third at the Macau Grand Prix (with Prema) smoothed his path to GP3 for 2011.

GP3

Committing to the F1 feeder series, now in its second season, for 2011 Bottas remained with ART (running sponsorship from Lotus).

Though he suffered a bad start to the year with only three points scoring finishes from the first four events, a timely first win in Round 10 of 16 kick-started a charge that yielded four victories over the final events that allowed him to overhaul James Calado for glory.

Despite the prestige of his title, Bottas wasn’t picked up to race in GP2 but instead became a Williams F1 Team development driver, a comprehensive deal that saw him take on testing duties and led to 15 Friday free practice outings out of the 20 races.

Comparing favourably to race drivers Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna, Williams duly chose to promote Bottas to replace the latter for his first season of F1 in 2013.

Valtteri Bottas F1 Career - Year-by-Year (2013 - Present)

Valtteri Bottas 2013 F1 Results Overview
Williams F1 Team - RENAULT
-Races19
-Wins0
-Podiums0
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish8th (US Grand Prix)
-2013 F1 Points4 Points
-2013 F1 Championship Standing17th

Making his debut in the Australian Grand Prix, Bottas’ maiden campaign was hamstrung by a car that - while a winner the previous season - struggled for performance despite the same Renault engine powering Red Bull Racing to title glory. 

Proving an instant match for race-winning team Maldonado, Bottas proved a steady pair of hands, suffering only two DNFs but struggling to get near the points as Williams slid down the hierarchy for 2013. 

However, there were still highlights, namely in a rain-affected Canadaian Grand Prix when he qualified in third position - slipping back to 14th in the race - before breaking his points duck with a solid run to eighth position in the US Grand Prix.

Those four points ensured he finished ahead of Maldonado (on a single point) and convinced Williams to retain him for 2014.

Valtteri Bottas 2014 F1 Results Overview
Wiliams Martini Racing - MERCEDES
-Races19
-Wins0
-Podiums6
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish2nd (British GP, Canadian GP
-2014 F1 Points186 points
-2014 F1 Championship Standing4th

Despite a difficult rookie campaign, Bottas came into 2014 with renewed confidence following Williams’ early move in 2013 to switch its attentions to the overhaul in technical and engine regulations for 2014 well in advance of the new season.

Boasting bold new backing from Martini and equipped with new Mercedes V6 Hybrid power units, Williams were the revelation of the 2014 with the car proving competitive out of the box in stark contrast to the previous year. Though Bottas didn’t quite harness this potential initially as he played second fiddle to new signing Felipe Massa, by mid-season the Finn had the measure of his more experienced team-mate. 

Firmly establishing himself as a contender with six top ten finishes from the opening seven races, Bottas made his first trip to the podium in the Austrian Grand Prix with a third place finish, which he followed up with a pair of seconds at the next British Grand Prix and German Grand Prix. 

With Williams arguably the second fastest team on track, helped in part by Mercedes’ superior V6 Hybrid powertrain, Bottas clinched three more podiums before the season was out to secure a vastly improved fourth in the overall standings, well ahead of 2009 F1 runner-up Massa.

Valtteri Bottas 2015 F1 Results Overview
Williams Martini Racing - MERCEDES
-Races19
-Wins0
-Podiums2
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish3rd (Canadian GP, Mexican GP)
-2015 F1 Points136 points
-2015 F1 Championship Standing5th

With Ferrari and Renault-engined rivals closing the gap to Mercedes in power terms, Williams were unable to retain its ‘best of the rest’ mantle from the previous year, but again Bottas made the most of his equipment for another creditable podium-winning campaign.

Stepping on the rostrum in Canada and Mexico, Bottas was once more a steady hand and again quicker than Massa to finish fifth overall.

He might have won top Finnish status from Kimi Raikkonen had the 2008 F1 champion not biffed him out of third place on the final lap of the Russian Grand Prix, but he’d instead finish just 14 points shy of matching his best from the previous year.

Valtteri Bottas 2016 F1 Results Overview
Williams Martini Racing - MERCEDES
-Races21
-Wins0
-Podiums1
-Pole Positions0
-Best Finish3rd (Canadian GP)
-2016 F1 Points85 Points
-2016 F1 Championship Standing8th

With Williams’ erstwhile advantage over its privateer rivals further eroded coming into 2016, Bottas became less of a feature at the front of the field but remained a regular point-scorer at the wheel of the FW38.

A season defined by sheer consistency, Bottas scored in 15 of the 21 races, but only stepped on the podium once, making the most of his Mercedes power unit’s speed advantage for another podium on the horsepower-hungry Gilles Villeneuve Circuit at the Canadian Grand Prix. 

He’d end the year eighth overall, once more well clear of Massa, and primed for a fifth season in Williams colours - despite interest from Renault - until his eleventh hour call from Mercedes transformed his career.

Valtteri Bottas 2017 F1 Results Overview
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1
-Races20
-Wins3
-Podiums13
-Pole Positions4
-Best Finish1st (Russian GP, Austrian GP, Abu Dhabi GP)
-2017 F1 Points305 Points
-2017 F1 Championship Standing3rd

With Nico Rosberg stunning the F1 world by opting to end his career on the high of his tense 2016 F1 title win, the fallout led to frantic action behind the scenes as Mercedes sought a worthy replacement amid feverish media speculation. 

Even so, it was Bottas - despite his Williams deal - that quickly emerged as the favourite to succeed Rosberg in the dominant Mercedes seat, with Toto Wolff’s board member privileges helping him switch contracts over from the British outfit. 

Partnering Lewis Hamilton, Bottas quickly adapted to Mercedes machinery and didn’t take long to make the most of the car’s enduring advantage over the competition with podiums in two of the opening three rounds, plus a maiden pole position in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

A first win quickly came in Round 4 in the 2017 Russian Grand Prix after an assured performance that had many speculating whether he could fill the void left by the outgoing champion and prove a close contender for his all-star team-mate. 

However, Bottas would settle into a supporting role for Hamilton - a status largley emulated over the coming seasons - by proving a close match but consistently unable to mount a definitive challenge against the Briton. 

That’s not to say he didn’t out-perform Hamilton on occasions with two more successes occurring in Austria and Abu Dhabi, but while his efforts were more than enough for Mercedes to secure its much desired constructors’ crown, he lost out to the runners-up spot to Sebastian Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas 2018 F1 Results Overview
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1
-Races21
-Wins0
-Podiums8
-Pole Positions2
-Best Finish2nd (Bahrain GP, Chinese GP, Spanish GP, Canadian GP, German GP, Russian GP, Japanese GP)
-2018 F1 Points247 Points
-2018 F1 Championship Standing5th

With a year under his belt, Bottas was expected to mount a more convincing challenge to Hamilton for 2018 but endured a troublesome season which, aligned with a team-mate that was seemingly getting better and better, put his seat under risk mid-season.

Failing to win a race at all in a year that saw Hamilton clinch 11 (the first time since 2012 that Mercedes didn’t have a race winning pairing), while gains from rivals could account for some of the change in fortune, fifth overall (four points shy of third) was an indictment of the Finn’s more precarious position.

He was unfortunate though with an almost certain win in Baku scuppered by a puncture while leading with only two laps remaining.

Despite this, it wasn’t enough to unseat Mercedes from the head of the constructors’ standings and with Bottas not creating any significant ructions’ in the team - compared with Hamilton’s ‘frenemy’ Rosberg - it was decided to keep the Finn on for another two years.

Valtteri Bottas 2019 F1 Results Overview
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1
-Races21
-Wins4
-Podiums15
-Pole Positions4
-Best Finish1st (Australian GP, Azerbaijan GP, Japanese GP, US GP)
-2019 F1 Points326 Points
-2019 F1 Championship Standing2nd 

Gaining confidence from having a solid two-year deal in his back pocket, Bottas went on to enjoy his best F1 season in 2019 even if he remained largely unable to penetrate Hamilton’s stranglehold on the title trophy,.

A measured win out of the box in Australia was followed by a second of the year during Round 4 in Baku, giving rise to the so-called more aggressive ‘Bottas 2.0’ mantle but despite an impressive nine podiums from ten races, Hamilton’s streak of wins would put air between the pair.

This was even before the Finn missed a golden opportunity to catch up during the German Grand Prix when he crashed out just laps before Hamilton did the same in difficult conditions. 

Bottas maintained the pressure on Hamilton that would have punished any glaring errors from the Briton but despite topping the podium again in Japan and the USA, his Mercedes counterpart wrapped up the crown with two rounds to spare.

Valtteri Bottas 2020 F1 Results Overview
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1
-Races17
-Wins2
-Podiums11
-Pole Positions5
-Best Finish1st (Austrian GP, Russian GP)
-2020 F1 Points223 Points
-2020 F1 Championship Standing2nd

Beginning his fourth season with Mercedes, Bottas got the truncated 2020 F1 campaign off to a good start by soaking up pressure from Hamilton to win the curtain raiser in Austria and laid down the foundations of a title battle with six podiums in the opening seven races.

However, his one non-score would come at Silverstone when his tyre blew with just over a lap to go, a fate that also befell Hamilton, but the Briton would coast his Mercedes across the line for victory. 

In what would prove arguably Hamilton and Mercedes’ most convincing title rout yet, Bottas could largely keep up with Hamilton and proved particularly strong in qualifying with five pole positions from 17 races, but was rarely ahead with only a second victory coming in Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix. This would be enough to secure the runners-up spot for the second consecutive year.

More interestingly, however, was the unexpected comparison he’d face alongside Williams F1 driver and Mercedes development racer George Russell, who was called up for the Sakhir Grand Prix to replace the COVID-stricken Lewis Hamilton.

While Bottas had a one-year deal signed and sealed prior to the race, the event was seen as a perfect opportunity to test Russell against the driver many believe he is being primed to replace for 2022 if Hamilton doesn’t retire. 

Bottas held the advantage after qualifying, albeit by just 0.040secs around the sub-1min Bahrain configuration, but after being beaten to the first corner looked set to suffer an ignominious defeat at the hands of his British rival, who was on course to win having failed to score in two years of racing with now-minnows Williams.

In the end Bottas was spared some embarrassment when Mercedes erroneously fitted his tyres to Russell’s car during a VSC period. Earning Russell a penalty and another pit-stop en route to ninth, it also delayed Bottas down to eighth at the chequered flag. 

Valtteri Bottas will race with Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 in the 2021 F1 season

Heading into the 2021 F1 season, the same targets remain for Bottas as he seeks to get the better of a Hamilton at the peak of his powers. Even so, he comes into the year wary of the threat now posed by the impressive Russell.

Regardless, Bottas remains popular within the Mercedes fold for his technical feedback and unabashed attitude, meaning a strong campaign could yet save his seat, while there is no guarantee the poised Russell would be replacing the Finn anyway after Hamilton agreed only a single-year deal for 2021...

Rallying

Playing on his Finnish heritage - home to seven World Rally Champions - Bottas has tried his hand at the discipline during the off-season, making his R5 spec debut in the 2019 Arctic Rally, scoring a stage win and finishing fifth. 

He upgraded to a WRC-spec Circuit DS3 for 2020 to finish ninth, improving to third in class and sixth overall in 2021.

Bottas took part in the official test for the new Extreme E series, an electric-based rally raid series, trialling the formula SPARK Odyssey 21 car that will be entered by Lewis Hamilton’s own X44 team. 

Valtteri Bottas Fast Facts

    •    Bottas married his long-time girlfriend Emilia Pikkarainen - an Finnish Olympic swimmer - in September 2016 after dating for six years. The couple announced their separation and divorce in 2019.
    •    He is currently in a relationship with Australian professional cyclist Tiffany Cromwell [February 2020]