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.