F1 2016 Driver Review: Valtteri Bottas

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Valtteri Bottas

Team: Williams Martini Racing
Car No.: 77
Races: 21
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: 3rd (Canada)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 85
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 8th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

2016 was a weird year for Valtteri Bottas. He may have only scored one podium finish, but given the lack of progress made by Williams, the Finn could not really have been expected to fare much better than he did.

Bottas impressed in the early part of the year when the FW38 car was at its strongest, finishing fourth in Russia and fifth in Spain, before enjoying a very impressive weekend in Canada to end up third. However, as development on the car failed to bear fruit and the likes of Force India and McLaren moved ahead, Bottas struggled to reach such dizzying heights again, recording just a single top-five finish in the second half of the season.

Despite being passed over by Ferrari for 2017, Bottas could still yet get a shot with a top team next year should Mercedes’ reported interest result in a move up as Nico Rosberg’s replacement. Bottas may not have stolen the show through 2016, but he did what he could with the tools at hand, and overshadowed teammate Felipe Massa in the process. A solid if unspectacular season for the Finn.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Bottas’ year reminded me a bit of Daniel Ricciardo’s last year. The car’s pace at his disposal came down a bit, but Bottas still tried to make the most of it more often than not. An 85-53 points edge over teammate Felipe Massa spoke to Bottas at least reliably banking solid finishes when the chances were there.

There were few standout drives but the Canada podium, and other good races in Russia, Italy and Malaysia, ensured he still maximized his chances.

Bottas’ future is intriguing with the Mercedes seat open. He’d be a good mentor for Lance Stroll at Williams provided he stays, but if he can get bought out of his contract and go up to Mercedes, he should be able to join the ranks of Grand Prix winners.