Valtteri Bottas was born on 28th August 1989 in Nastola, Finland, entering his very first kart race at the age of six. Over the ensuing decade, the karting circuits of Finland and Europe would become his home from home, where he won numerous Championships and was a member of the Finnish national karting squad for seven years.
In 2007, at the age of 17, Valtteri made the step up to single-seater racing. He immediately impressed, winning two races and finishing third in his rookie Formula Renault 2.0 NEC season, before going on to claim not one but two Championships in Formula Renault 2.0 the following year – sweeping the NEC and Eurocup titles in stunning style.
Valtteri graduated to the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2009 with ART Grand Prix, driving a Mercedes-powered car for the first time. The Finn adapted to the new format successfully, finishing the 2009 and 2010 seasons in third place. In both years, he won the prestigious Formula 3 Masters in Zandvoort – the only driver to win this event twice in succession.
In the following year (2011), Valtteri switched to the GP3 Series, which was then in its second season as a support event to Formula One. He acquitted himself well to the category, securing four victories on the last four weekends of the season to beat his team-mate James Calado to the title.
Valtteri was given his first Formula One test outing by Williams in 2010 and continued in this role in 2011 alongside his GP3 commitments. For the 2012 season, he decided to concentrate solely on his duties as a Formula One test driver, completing 15 first practice outings over the course of the 20-race season. In November 2012, he at last received the long-awaited call from his management team: “Your time has come.”
Valtteri made his Formula One debut in 2013 at the Australian Grand Prix, becoming the ninth Finnish driver to compete in the sport. His debut season turned out to be a difficult one – but he at least outscored his team-mate Pastor Maldonado by four points to one. Valtteri’s moment of glory came in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix when, on a drying track, he gave a virtuoso performance to claim P3 on the grid. He scored his first F1 points at the United States Grand Prix with an eighth-place finish.