A brief biography of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, including his career history and Formula One statistics
Like most future motor racing stars, Valtteri Bottas got his start in the sport by taking up karting at an early age, getting behind the wheel at just six years old. He eventually claimed the 2005 Karting World Cup before moving to single-seater competition in the Formula Renault Northern European Cup as well as the Formula Renault Eurocup, picking up 17 wins from 28 starts and winning both titles in 2008.
Bottas' talent saw him secure management and backing from Toto Wolff, who would soon become a director at Williams F1 (before moving on to become Head of Mercedes-Benz motorsport). Also impressed was Bottas' childhood idol, two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen.
The Finn competed in the 2009 Formula Three Euroseries with French team ART, and the same year won the 2009 Masters of Formula 3. He repeated that success the following year, becoming the first driver to win the title two years in a row. That got him the role of test driver at Williams which he combined with a full season in GP3 with ART that culminated with the 2011 title.
The following year Bottas got a taste of Friday practice sessions when he sat in for Bruno Senna during 15 FP1s, and he finally got his big chance in Formula One when he joined Pastor Maldonado as part of Williams' 2013 driver line-up. In a difficult first year with the team he finished in the top ten only once - in the penultimate race in the United States - but he outscored Maldonado as a result.
By contrast the following season saw him paired with the experienced Felipe Massa, and Williams' performance soon took a quantum leap forward: finishing in the points in 17 of 19 races, Bottas was able to celebrate his first podium in Austria which was followed by two consecutive runners-up spots at Silverstone and Hockenheim.
Bottas has since proved himself a reliable top ten performer over his three seasons at Grove, but he's not yet managed to make the final breakthrough onto the top step of the podium. Highly regarded by other drivers and teams alike, Bottas nonetheless remains a would-be champion still waiting for his lucky break.
2017 promises to be just that, after Nico Rosberg's retirement, Bottas was announced as the second of the Mercedes drivers for 2017 and with pre-season testing suggesting once again that Mercedes will be the dominant force for in 2017 it would be fair to suggest that Bottas will finally secure his maiden win this year.