45. Valtteri Bottas

Age 31
Occupation Driver, Mercedes-AMG Petronas
Nationality Finnish
Position Last Year 49

Valtteri Bottas was born on 28th August 1989 in Nastola, Finland, entering his very first kart race at the age of six. Over the ensuing decade, the karting circuits of Finland and Europe would become his home from home, where he won numerous Championships and was a member of the Finnish national karting squad for seven years.

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Valtteri Bottas made his Formula One debut in 2013 at the Australian Grand Prix, becoming the ninth Finnish driver to compete in the sport. His debut season turned out to be a difficult one – but he at least outscored his team-mate Pastor Maldonado by four points to one. Valtteri’s moment of glory came in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix when, on a drying track, he gave a virtuoso performance to claim P3 on the grid. He scored his first F1 points at the United States Grand Prix with an eighth-place finish.

After a change of engine supplier at Williams for the 2014 season, Valtteri was back in a Mercedes-powered vehicle for the first time since his spell in Formula 3. He registered his best season so far in the highest echelon of motorsport, claiming six podium appearances and scoring 186 points to finish the campaign in the fourth position, behind the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and three-time race winner Daniel Ricciardo. That year, Valtteri and his team-mate Felipe Massa secured third place for Williams in the Constructors’ Championship.

In the 2015 season, Valtteri once again outscored his teammate Massa, despite missing the season-opener due to a back injury. He made two podium appearances and finished the year with 136 points. In the 2016 season, his fourth in Formula One, Valtteri secured his team’s sole podium finish, which came in the Canadian Grand Prix, and finished eighth in the standings.

For the 2017 season, Valtteri became the 11th driver to compete in Formula One with the Mercedes team, following in the footsteps of drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Sir Stirling Moss, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. It was a breakthrough year for Valtteri that saw him claim his first pole positions (4) and race wins (3). The Finn scored more points in his first season with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport than in his entire Formula One career before and ended the 2017 season in P3.

2018 proved to be a tougher season, with Ferrari and Red Bull putting up a much more intense fight. It was a season of two halves for Valtteri, with some strong performances early on (narrowly missing out on victories in China and Azerbaijan) before a more difficult second part of the year. He scored eight podiums, two pole positions and seven fastest laps, finishing fifth in the standings – and playing a vital part of the team’s triumph in the Constructors’ Championship.

Valtteri Bottas returned to the top step of the podium in 2019 and enjoyed his most successful season in F1 so far – starting off strongly with a win in Australia. In total, he scored four victories, five pole positions, 15 podiums and 326 points – finishing a career-best P2 in the Drivers’ Championship and once again proving to be crucial in helping the team secure its sixth consecutive Constructors’ crown.

Bottas extended his contract with Mercedes into 2021. At the Bahrain Grand Prix, he finished third. At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, he struggled compared to his teammate Lewis Hamilton, unable to work his tyres and stuck in the ninth position. Bottas’ difficult race concluded with a retirement, after a crash with George Russell as the latter was attempting to overtake Bottas. At the Portuguese Grand Prix, Bottas qualified on pole position and finished third after Hamilton and Verstappen, he achieved the same result at the Spanish Grand Prix after qualifying third.

At the Monaco Grand Prix, Bottas was challenging for pole position, until Charles Leclerc crashed at the 16th corner, causing a red flag to be displayed and qualifying to be immediately ended before Bottas could complete his lap. Due to this, Bottas started third on the grid. His race ended on lap 31 team was unable to remove a wheel during a routine pitstop.

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