In the motorsport, Finland is the land of exceptional rally drivers and world rally champions, because seven of them are from that Nordic country. In Formula One, Finland had only nine drivers in more than 65 years long history of the competition.
One of those nine is Valtteri Bottas, who debuted in Formula One in 2013 and during four seasons scored nine podiums with Williams. In 2017, he joined Mercedes, scoring three wins since then. Prior to F1 career, Bottas was 2011 GP3 Series champion and 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup winner.
Two championship titles in the second season of car racing
Valtteri Bottas was born on August 28, 1989, in Nastola, Finland. As a teenager, he competed in Finnish and international karting competitions, winning many titles. Bottas switched to bigger cars in 2007, entering the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup with Koiranen Bros Motorsport. With two wins in 16 races, he finished third in the points.
In 2008, Valtteri joined Motopark Academy and won not only FR 2.0 NEC title but also Formula Renault Eurocup. He took the Eurocup title with a 3-point advantage over Daniel Ricciardo. In the NEC series, Bottas had no proper rival and he won twelve out of fourteen races.
Victory at 2009 Masters of Formula 3
Bottas moved to Formula 3 Euro Series in 2009, joining ART Grand Prix team. Driving the #2 Dallara F308-Mercedes, he scored six podiums in 20 races and finished third in the points. The highlight of the season was Valtteri's victory at Masters of Formula 3 event at Circuit Zandvoort in June. At non-championship Macau Grand Prix, he finished fifth.
2009 Masters of Formula 3 winner
One more F3 Masters victory
Bottas stayed one more season with ART Grand Prix in Formula 3 Euro Series, winning two races and adding six more podiums and he finished again third in the standings. He repeated the victory at Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort and reached third place at Macau Grand Prix.
2011 GP3 Series title and a job in Williams F1 Team
During 2010, Bottas made a crucial step on his way to Formula 1, joining Williams as a test driver. He continued with testing duties during 2011, while competing in the GP3 Series with Lotus ART team. Bottas won four out of sixteen races and took the GP3 title, beating his teammate James Calado by seven points.
He also had a one-off appearance in the 2011 British F3 Championship, driving for Double R Racing at Donington Park and winning one race. With the same team, he competed at Macau Grand Prix. After finishing fourth in the Qualification race, he had an accident in the main race.
2011 GP3 Series champion
A year of testing duties and Formula 1 debut in 2013
During 2012, Bottas had no other job except driving Williams FW34 Formula One car during the Friday's test sessions at Grand Prix races. He participated in fifteen Grand Prix weekends.
Valtteri returned to racing in 2013, debuting in Formula One as Pastor Maldonado's teammate in the Williams F1 Team. Bottas scored four points in the penultimate race of the season, at United States Grand Prix and overtook his teammate in the final classification. Bottas was 17th in the championship, Maldonado finished 18th.
Bottas and Massa, teammates since 2014
Six podiums and fourth place in the 2014 F1 championship
For 2014 season, Frank Williams made two big changes. Maldonado was replaced by Felipa Massa and Renault engines were replaced by Mercedes powerplants. Both decisions were good, as both Williams' drivers became constant podium contenders. Massa even took the pole position at Austrian Grand Prix.
Bottas scored six podiums and finished fourth in the championship points. He was second in two races (Silverstone and Nurburgring) and finished third in four races (Red Bull Ring, Spa, Soči and Abu Dhabi). Felipe Massa was seventh in the championship standings, with three podiums on his account. In the Constructors' classification, Williams took third place, behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
Bottas scored nine podiums in four F1 seasons before joining Mercedes
Two podiums in 2015 Formula One season
The successful duo stayed with the team in 2015. Bottas was again more successful than his teammate Massa. Both scored two podiums, Bottas was fifth, Massa was sixth in the points. Valtteri took the podiums by finishing third at Canadian Grand Prix and third at Mexican Grand Prix. In the Constructors' classification, Williams was again in the third place.
When it comes to 2016 Formula One season, Bottas and Massa decided to stay teammates for the third consecutive season. In June, at Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Bottas scored his ninth F1 podium results in a career. It remained his only podium in 2016 and he finished 8th in the points.
Bottas celebrates his maiden F1 victory at 2017 Russian Grand Prix
Maiden F1 victory at 2017 Russian Grand Prix
For the 2017 F1 season, Bottas already agreed to race for Williams but then Nico Rosberg surprisingly announced retirement. Mercedes invited Bottas to replace world champion in their team and to be a teammate to Lewis Hamilton. Bottas scored podium in his debut in the #77 Mercedes, finishing third at season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The first F1 victory came in fourth round, at the Russian Grand Prix. Bottas continued to collect podiums and then the second victory followed at the Austrian Grand Prix. The third win came in season's finale at Abu Dhabi and he finished third in the championship.
In 2018, he stayed in the #77 Mercedes. He was among the front-runners, taking two pole positions, but scored no wins, just eight podiums, to finish fifth in the championship points.