August 28, 1989
Williams F1 Team
|Career statistics to end 2013|
It was a long time coming, but all the sweeter for the wait. Valtteri Bottas scored his maiden World Championship points for Williams when he finished eighth in Austin, a result that saw him finish the season one place above experienced teammate Pastor Maldonado in 17th overall.
It was as much the manner as the fact of his success that told Williams what they needed to know: the young Finn fought with names like Alonso and Rosberg to make his mark at last in a debut season that made many people sit up and take notice.
So it was no surprise when Williams confirmed on November 11 that Bottas would be given a second season to show his mettle, this time as teammate to Brazilian Felipe Massa.
The announcement referred to an earlier showing by Bottas when, in tricky conditions, he planted the FW35 on the second row of the grid in Montreal.
The writing was on the wall for his 2013 teammate Pastor Maldonado when Bottas finished above him in the first three races of the season.
He was entirely blameless in his two non-finishes of the season. The first came with a hydraulic problem in Hungary, the second in the final round in Brazil when Bottas was again running strongly only to be edged off-track by Lewis Hamilton, an indiscretion that earned the Mercedes star a penalty.
“I have known everyone here for many years,” said Bottas when it was confirmed he would stay, “firstly as a test driver and now as a race driver, so it feels like home. I have faith in Williams and I know we can do so much better in the future than our current performance shows.”
With just five points to their credit in 2013 (the same disastrous haul as 2011), Sir Frank’s beleaguered team must see Bottas as the face of a brighter future. Many F1 experts already share that view.