Valtteri Bottas’ 2014 Season Improvement is Underrated

William’s driver Valtteri Bottas.  Source: Gallery Hip

Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas finished the 2013 Formula One season in 17th place in the driver’s championship, just one spot above his teammate Pastor Maldonado. Certainly not a terrible outing for a rookie in the series. But 2014 was a different story for the Finn, paired with ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, Bottas finished in the top five of the points standings and came close to clinching a race win for Williams on several occasions. 

In the first five races of the 2014 season, Bottas had consecutive top ten finishes with the highest being fifth place in both Australia and Spain.  His 13 year-F1 veteran teammate had finishes of 20, 7, 7, 15, and 13 in those same five races, with Australia being a DNF due to a first lap crash.  Bottas has his lone DNF of the year in the next race, Monte Carlo, due to an engine failure on lap 56.  

After the disappointing setback in Monaco, Bottas really set himself apart from the “rest of the pack” and established himself as a firm competitor with the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.  The remaining 13 races on the calendar saw top ten finishes in all but Singapore (13th place finish) for Bottas, eight of those being top five performances. In 2013,  Valtteri Bottas had one top ten finish all year which came in the form of a P8 performance in Austin, Texas.  

The end of the year tally saw Bottas put up some impressive stats:  

  • Average start of 6.2
  • Average finish of 6.1
  • 6 podium finishes
  • 98% of the total laps run completed
Along with natural improvement, much of his success can be attributed to Williams’ 2014 chassis design and overall performance.  In 2014, the only mechanical failure came in Monte Carlo with an engine failure, making Williams one of the most reliable teams in the sport.  Only Force India and McLaren had just as impressive reliability, with one mechanical failure for each.   

Even with such an incredible second year in the sport, Bottas isn’t satisfied with his performance just yet, telling reporters he is “expecting a lot from next year.”  Williams have already announced prior to the 2014 season ending that both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will drive for them in 2015.  Bottas shared that the team has “made some very impressive gains this season”, and that he’s confident the team is “moving in the right direction and can continue to be competitive.”

Bottas is just 25 years old, making him one of the younger drivers on the grid, and has all the signs of a long, successful career in front of him.  The large improvement from last year is a good sign of things to come for Bottas.  With Williams Racing regaining some of their historical success in recent years, the team is a good fit for a championship contending Bottas.  2014 was an inspiring year for the young Finn, and he’ll be looking to build on that and take another shot at the title next year.  

Valtteri Bottas is "Expecting a lot" From Next Year

Valtteri Bottas finished the Abu Dhabi grand prix in third place behind teammate Felipe Massa, and secured fourth place in the Driver’s Championship above Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Vettel.  

The young driver has exceeded all expectations this year, going head to head with a much more experienced Massa and beating him in the championship.  But he’s not satisfied yet. The Finn driver is looking to improve on his 2014 performance. 

After the race, he said “It’s been an amazing year with so much improvement as a team and getting so much stronger, and this last race shows how strong we are getting.

“The curve is to the up. I’m expecting a lot from next year.” he added.

Bottas’ race got off to a poor start, though, making most of the race a battle to regain positions that he lost in the beginning, dropping back to P9 initially.  But as for the season as a whole, Bottas is proud of how far the team has come.

“Overall, an amazing end to the season. An amazing… from last season, it’s been just incredible how much we have improved.

“And as a team being two cars on the podium it really shows how much we also have been improving during the season, which is the main thing, because next year things are going to be really tricky, everybody is going to improve and we are really aiming to be again stronger and fighting for the wins.” 

Valtteri Bottas is just 25 years old, but he has beaten some of the best in the sport this year, finishing ahead of Vettel, Alonso, and Raikkonen.  

When asked about his season and next year, Bottas responded “We’re just going to make sure we don’t repeat any same mistakes next year. I’m sure we’ll be fighting for a better position.

But third in the constructors’, for me fourth in the drivers’, it will do for now.

“But for the future, it’s not enough.”

Lewis Hamilton Wins the 2014 Formula One Driver’s Championship

Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton has won the 2014 Formula One Driver’s Championship.  

Hamilton finished off the season with a win at the Abu Dhabi grand prix to clinch the championship from teammate Nico Rosberg who he has been battling with all year long. Rosberg took the early championship lead in Melbourne, Australia.  

This championship is Hamilton’s second, his first came in 2008, and he called today’s event “the greatest race of my life.”  And it certainly was, taking over first place as soon as the lights went out, Rosberg never to regain the lead again. 

The Englishman did have some help from his teammate, though, when he suffered a technical failure with the ERS system, causing him to lose engine power and all but end his hopes of a championship.  After that, it was a relatively easy drive for Hamilton to the finish, with no other drivers having a shot at the title, he just had to get the car home. 

Lewis Hamilton did that in spades, winning the contest after a late race challenge by Williams driver Felipe Massa, who finished the race in second.

Valtteri Bottas completed a successful Williams weekend by finishing in third place.

// This year’s championship has been a back and forth battle dominated by the Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Rosberg.  After taking control of the title in Singapore, Lewis Hamilton put together a string of successful results to set him up for his second World Driver’s Championship in Abu Dhabi.

“2008 was a great year in my life. The feeling I have now is way, way past that. The greatest feeling ever.”

Fong, Nissany, and Ocon Take Part in Valencia Test

Three promising young drivers, Adderly Fong, Roy Nissany, and Esteban Ocon, took part in a two day test in Valencia, Spain to test out the Lotus and Sauber F1 cars.

Fong and Nissany both did 99 laps in the Sauber C31 around the F1 circuit this week.  Fong has raced in championships in both Europe and Asia, this year focusing on the Audi R8 LMS cup.  

Fong talked about the experience after, saying “I am very happy that I had the opportunity to test the Sauber.  I have achieved my objective to complete 300 km without making any mistakes and at a good speed.”

“The car was fantastic to drive, it is a brilliant piece of machinery.  With so much horsepower and high downforce, it is a difficult car to learn, but I was able to improve lap by lap.”

“I really want to thank Sauber and Ferrari for providing me such a good package today,” he added.

Nissay drives in European F3 series, and said that the test “was and amazing day.  It was my first time driving a Formula One car, and it felt great.”

“I am very happy with today’s outcome, not just from my side, but also from my team’s side, as everyone works very professionally.”

Ocon, a member of Lotus’ junior team, described the test day as going “really well.”

Alan Permane, Lotus’ operations director, said Ocon, “drove exceptionally well over the course of the last two days, completing every task we asked of him.

“It’s clear he has a lot of talent as he was quickly up to speed and looked comfortable in the car.  His feedback and aptitude were very promising.”

“I’m sure we will see him in an F1 car again before too long.”

Hulkenberg to Stay with Force India for 2015

Nico Hulkenberg will drive for Force India in 2015, his team confirmed Monday morning via Twitter:

Hulkenberg is currently eighth in the drivers championship and is within striking distance of Jenson Button.  The German is having his best season to date with Sahara Force India, scoring points in all but three of the Grand Prix’s this year.

Vijay Mallya, Force India Team Princiapal, commented on the announcement, saying “Everybody in the team is delighted to see Nico remain a Sahara Force India driver for next season.  We rate him very highly and he has done a tremendous job this year by consistently picking up crucial championship points.

“He’s a true racer and he knows how to motivate the team,” he added.

2015 will be Nico’s fourth year at Force India, racing with the team in 2011, ’12 and ’14 so far. Hulkenberg moved over to Sauber in 2013 only to finish with a disappointing 51 points.  

Nico released a statement about his decision on Monday, saying “This is a team I know extremely well and we’ve enjoyed a great year together with some special results.  The team has big ambitions and I believe we can have a competitive package once again next year.”

Force India currently sits 20 points out from McLaren in the constructor’s championship with three races left.  

“I have a good feeling for 2015 and there is a lot to be excited about as we try to build on the results we have achieved this year.”