Before his debut for Williams in 2013 there was a lot of excitement sourround Valtteri Bottas as the next in line of Flying Finns. After the first few races, some were quick to write him off as a decent driver but future world champion material. But despite a slow getup, this Finnish wunderkind won back the respect and anticipation of the F1 community with his outstanding qualifying performance in Canada that same year. Flash forward to 2015 and he has outperformed both his team mates and while Maldonardo can be said to be a little erratic in his performance, Felipe Massa really is quite the full package.
Tell me something I didn’t know about Bottas.
He dates a Finnish Olympic Swimmer. Emilia Pikkarainen has been dating Valtteri Bottas for the past 5 years. She is frequently spotted supporting him at F1 events and being a professional sportswoman herself, she has a better understanding and acceptance than most of the sacrifices you have to make to compete in F1. Valtteri often speaks of her and appears completely lost in love with the Finnish beauty.
His mum is an undertaker. It is a well-known fact that most of the talent who makes it into F1 are from quite well-off families. This is because the exuberant cost of go-karting pushes many away from taking up the hobby in the first place. Bruce Willis-lookalike Bottas senior, who runs a modest cleaning business, took his 4-year-old son to see a karting race and the tot was mesmerised. In fact, according to his dad, he never saw his son sit quite so still. But he was forced to wait another year to prove himself as the next Flying Finn as his legs were too short to reach the pedals.
He runs a mile. And more. Unlike fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas is a self-confessed fitness freak. He enjoys exercise, especially running, and during 2012, while not yet in one of the primary race seats at Williams, he took part in several competitive triathlons to stay in shape.
He overslept at the race in Monza 2013. It’s known that Raikkonen prefers to prepare for a race by sleeping and will usually rock up on Sunday afternoon having been asleep up until 30 minutes prior to race start. I’m sure the Williams team is pleased that this is not Bottas’ habit, whom usually spends his pre-race preparation time trying to get as much info as possible from his engineers. But he did admit to oversleeping before the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in 2013. Thankfully he still made the race and went on to finish in a modest 15th place.
He is a qualified car mechanic. It doesn’t look like he will be needing a trade to fall back on any time soon, with his success in Williams and now Ferrari courting him to replace Kimi from 2016, but it’s nice to know that Bottas knows his way around a road car as well as the race track.