A warm welcome to Valtteri Bottas! In 2017, the Finn will be competing for the first time in a Silver Arrow. But he is no stranger to the highest echelon of motorsport, nor to the brand with the three-pointed star.
The forthcoming season will be Valtteri’s fifth in Formula One and his fourth with a Mercedes-AMG Hybrid Power Unit behind the driver’s seat. But he also has experience of Mercedes-powered cars from his time in junior single-seater series.
Here, we take a look at the key facts and figures from Valtteri’s early motor racing career through to the present...
- Valtteri was entered for his first kart race at the age of six. Over the ensuing decade, he won numerous races and was a member of the Finnish national karting squad for seven years.
- Valtteri is the only driver to win the prestigious Formula 3 Masters in Zandvoort twice in succession (2009 and 2010).
- In his first Zandvoort victory in 2009, he completed the hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory.
- Valtteri claimed both of his F3 Masters wins at the wheel of a car powered by a Mercedes-AMG Formula 3 engine.
- The only other driver apart from Valtteri to have won the F3 Masters twice is Mercedes-AMG DTM driver Felix Rosenqvist. His two victories in 2011 and 2013 also came in a Mercedes-powered car.
- In 2011, Valtteri won the GP3 Series in his rookie year.
- On his way to the GP3 title, Valtteri outperformed every other driver in terms of race victories, podiums and fastest race laps. He also came out on top with regard to racing laps spent in the lead (49) and total distance covered (1,257 kilometres).
- Valtteri’s Formula One starting number is 77, which allows for ingenious hashtag variations such as #Val77eri and #BO77AS.
- He took his first Formula One test drive in 2010 for Williams and subsequently served as their test driver until making his Grand Prix debut in 2013.
- After winning the 2011 GP3 Series, Valtteri decided not to race in 2012, choosing instead to work solely as test driver for Williams with FP1 outings on 15 of the 20 Fridays throughout the season.
- Valtteri thus became the ninth Finn to have driven on a Grand Prix weekend.
- Valtteri currently has the fourth highest total of Grand Prix podiums for a Finnish driver (9), behind ex-Formula One World Champions Kimi Räikkönen (84), Mika Häkkinen (51) and Keke Rosberg (17).
- Valtteri scored his first championship points in the penultimate race of his debut season, taking eighth place in the US Grand Prix. This was enough to take him above his Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado in the 2013 Drivers’ Championship.
- After his debut F1 season in 2013, Valtteri has made at least one podium appearance in each of the subsequent campaigns.
- Valtteri’s most successful F1 season so far was his first year with the Mercedes-AMG Hybrid Power Unit: he ascended the podium six times in 2014 (two runner-up spots, four third places) and finished fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.
- Since his Grand Prix debut in 2013, Valtteri has outscored his team-mates in all four Formula One campaigns (2013: Maldonado; 2014-2016: Massa).