F1 2014 Driver Review: Valtteri Bottas

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Valtteri Bottas

Team: Williams Martini Racing
Car No.: 77
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 6
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 186
Laps Led: 4
Championship Position: 4th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

After a difficult 2013 campaign that yielded just four points, Valtteri Bottas proved just why he was rated so highly by Williams this season, finishing the championship in fourth place and leading the team’s charge to third in the constructors’ standings.

Even at the first race in Australia, Bottas proved his star quality, passing most of the field twice en route to fifth place at the flag. His first podium finish came in Austria, having run the Mercedes drivers close during the race, and his run to P2 at Silverstone was sensational after qualifying 17th.

Mercedes was the dominant team in 2014, but it was Bottas who gave them something to worry about on a number of occasions. In Russia, he so nearly upset the odds to claim pole position. Nevertheless, with six podium finishes to his name, the Finn finishes the year fourth in the standings, beating experienced teammate Felipe Massa by 52 points.

Daniel Ricciardo may have been the biggest breakthrough star in 2014, but Bottas must be a close second. If Williams can make another step forwards over the winter, expect to see the Finn standing on the top step of the podium in 2015. We could be looking at a future world champion here.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Valtteri Bottas’ Australian Grand Prix this year revealed the makings of a potential World Champion, if some of his 2013 performances hadn’t been enough. After starting 15th and climbing through the field once, smacking the wall and losing some spots, then climbing back to fifth, it was apparent Bottas and Williams would be one to watch this year.

Indeed that was the case. There’d been a handful of races where Bottas impressed in the early stages but once the F1 circus got to Austria, that was when Williams really began to hit their stride. Bottas finished in the top five in eight of the final 12 races, with six podium finishes, completing a run to fourth in the final standings. Ending second at Silverstone after starting 14th has to be the statistical highlight in that run.

The thing that was most impressive to me this year was his understanding of how the expectations had changed. A year ago, the guy banked exactly one points finish – eighth at Austin – and by Abu Dhabi this year he was saying, “third is OK… for this year.” He knows the opportunity that Williams has, as one of F1’s greatest teams is on the verge of a return to its 1990s title-winning glory years, and he knows he’s the more likely of the two drivers to deliver that down the road. The torch has been passed from Kimi Raikkonen to Bottas as F1’s “Flying Finn,” and his first win can’t be far away.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.