It’s a huge season for Valtteri Bottas, who has been given an opportunity that not many Formula One drivers get – A chance to reach that top tier of Formula One driver.
The Finnish driver has done his time at Williams, showing patience early on when the team were underperforming, but delivering some excellent results, including podiums, when the team were back at the sharp end of the grid.
In Pastor Maldonado, Bottas had a teammate who defeated himself on many occasions when he first joined Williams. Bottas was then sharing a garage with Felipe Massa between 2014-2016, a veteran of the sport whose pace hasn’t fallen off, and may even be rekindled this season. This year, Bottas is pitted against Lewis Hamilton, a driver who is without doubt in the top bracket of Formula One drivers, possibly one of the all-time greats.
The chance for race wins and even a Championship has whetted the Finn’s appetite, but he will have to overcome a teammate who is familiar with fighting at the spearhead of the sport. Valtteri Bottas remains optimistic of his chances in the inter-team battle that will undoubtedly be a key fight in the 2017 campaign.
“I don’t fear that I will be the number two at Mercedes. Mercedes do not have a number one, or a number two driver, so it is up to me to perform. As long as I do my job, which is to perform on the level where the car should be, we are all good and I know I can do it.
I am very excited about going up against Lewis. He is a three-time world champion and a great reference point. Everybody knows exactly how good he is as a driver.
It is great to be a team-mate of Lewis and I hope we can have a strong year in this era of Formula One. In testing we managed to work well together and there was a good team spirit. I see no reason why it should not continue like that.”
– Valtteri Bottas
Bottas’ presence in the Mercedes garage should be good for Hamilton too. The three-time World Champion has had an exhausting rivalry with Nico Rosberg for the past three years. There doesn’t look to be any real issue between the Mercedes drivers at this point in the season, if they can continue to remain positive throughout the season, it will make the team even more formidable and difficult to manage if they are on top in Melbourne.