“Valtteri is quite simply one of the most talented young racing drivers I have come across and we expect great things from him in the future.” These were the words of Sir Frank Williams as he announced that the young man from Nastola in southern Finland would make his F1 debut as a Williams race driver for the 2013 season. Williams’ expectations were high, but Bottas did not disappoint.
Like so many of his contemporaries, Bottas’ motor racing career began early - he was just six years old when he first stepped into a go-kart and over the next 11 years he won numerous championships in his homeland and Europe. He made the jump into cars in 2007, coming third in his debut season in the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup. The following year Bottas dominated the same series and also scooped the Eurocup title, finishing the season with the enviable record of 17 wins from 28 starts.
With his talent blossoming, Bottas picked up backing and management from future Williams director (and now Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief) Toto Wolff, two-time F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen (his childhood idol), and Didier Coton (Hakkinen’s long-time manager)...