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He burst onto the racing scene in 2007 in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC series.
Valtteri was born in Nastola, Finland on 28 August 1989 to Rauno Bottas and Marianne Välimaa. His father owns a small cleaning company, and his mother is an undertaker. He was educated in Heinola. Bottas served in the army briefly, which is mandatory for adult males in Finland. His military rank is Lance corporal.
Bottas finished eighth in the 2005 Karting World Cup for the P.D.B. Racing Team, using Gillard chassis and Parilla engines.
Bottas won both the 2008 Formula Renault Eurocup and the 2008 Formula Renault Northern European Cup. In doing so, he repeated the feat of Filipe Albuquerque, who won both the NEC and Eurocup in the same season, in 2006.
He moved up into the Formula Three Euroseries for the 2009 season, competing for reigning champions ART Grand Prix. Despite not winning a race, Bottas set two pole positions on his way to third in the championship, edging out future BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver Alexander Sims at the final race. In June 2009, Bottas won the 2009 Masters of Formula 3, also claiming the pole position and setting the fastest lap of the race. By winning the event again in 2010, he became the first driver to win the F3 Masters title for the second time.
In 2010 Bottas was assigned test driver for the Williams Formula One team and would continue as such for the 2011 and 2012 (where he took part in 15 Friday Free Practice sessions) seasons. Also in 2011, the Finn contested the GP3 Series, remaining with F3 squad ART. After a tough start to the season, he claimed a win in each of the last four race weekends and secured the title by winning the penultimate race ahead of his teammate and future Jaguar Racing driver James Calado.
By the end of the season, Bottas became the first Mercedes driver to finish a season without a win since Michael Schumacher in 2012. With seven second place finishes, he also set a new record for the most second place finishes without taking a win in a season.
Bottas returned to racing in 2013, as he was confirmed as teammate to Pastor Maldonado at Williams-Renault for the 2013 season on 28 November 2012. On 8 June 2013, Bottas qualified in 3rd position at the Canadian Grand Prix behind Sebastian Vettel (1st), and Lewis Hamilton (2nd). He scored his first points finish at the United States Grand Prix by finishing 8th. This result allowed Bottas to finish ahead of Maldonado in the Drivers' Championship.
On 11 November 2013 Bottas was confirmed to continue with Williams-Mercedes in 2014 alongside Felipe Massa, who was signed from Ferrari to replace Pastor Maldonado. At the first race of the 2014 season in Australia, Bottas qualified 10th and finished 6th, after recovering from a crash earlier in the race. He was later promoted to 5th after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from 2nd position. At the Austrian Grand Prix, Bottas qualified 2nd, his then-best grid position in Formula One and achieved his first podium in the sport, finishing third behind Nico Rosberg (1st) and Lewis Hamilton (2nd). Despite qualifying 14th on the grid at the British Grand Prix, Bottas charged through the field to finish second, following Rosberg's retirement from the race, thereby achieving his second consecutive career podium. At the German Grand Prix, he qualified second and ended the race in the same position despite a late challenge from Hamilton. After achieving three more podiums in Belgium, Russia (where he set his first fastest lap of a race) and Abu Dhabi (part of the Williams team's first double podium since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix), Bottas finished 4th overall in the Drivers' Championship, beating the likes of former world champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
In September 2014, it was announced that Bottas and Massa would retain their drives with Williams for the 2015 season. At the opening race of the season in Australia, Bottas qualified sixth for the race, but injured his back during qualifying. He was taken to The Alfred Hospital for precautionary checks, where he was diagnosed with soft tissue damage to his lower back, and was not medically cleared to race. Both Bottas's and Williams's season did not live up to their hopes. Williams lost out in the development war to Ferrari over the winter and slipped further behind Mercedes. Bottas achieved two podium finishes across the 2015 season. The first came at the Canadian Grand Prix when Kimi Räikkönen's Ferrari experienced an engine mapping issue resulting in him spinning, leaving an easy podium opportunity for the Williams driver. The second podium of the season came in Mexico behind the Mercedes duo. Two races earlier, Bottas had been on course to finish third in Russia before Räikkönen collided with him while trying overtake on the final lap of the race. Sergio Pérez was rewarded with the podium, while Räikkönen was penalised, dropping him to 8th and Bottas retired. Bottas finished 5th in the Drivers' Championship beating his experienced teammate Felipe Massa for the second consecutive year.
On 11 September 2016, Bottas married his long-time girlfriend, Emilia Pikkarainen, a fellow Finn and an Olympic swimmer whom he had been dating since 2010. The couple were married at St. John's Church, Helsinki. On 28 November 2019, Bottas announced their separation and divorce, citing "challenges my career and life situation bring".
On 16 January 2017, Mercedes announced that they signed Bottas for the 2017 season to partner Lewis Hamilton, replacing the 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg following his shock retirement from the sport. Bottas finished 3rd in his first race as a Mercedes driver, the 2017 Australian Grand Prix, behind Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. At the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix he spun behind the safety car and fell from 5th to 12th but managed to fight his way back to 6th place behind Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, the two Red Bulls and Kimi Räikkönen. He managed to qualify on pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix, marking his first career pole position.
However, in the race he had to settle for third place after suffering from tyre pressure problems during his first stint, and being unable to find the pace to battle Vettel and Hamilton. He won the 2017 Russian Grand Prix on 30 April 2017, his first Grand Prix win, after jumping the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen from 3rd on the grid on the first lap, making him the fifth Finn to win a Grand Prix. He retired from 3rd in the next race in Spain with an engine issue, having previously survived a collision with Verstappen and Räikkönen on the first lap that took the other two drivers out of the race. Mercedes was off the pace in Monaco, struggling to generate heat in the tyres. Nevertheless, Bottas qualified 3rd, less than a tenth of a second off the pole time, while his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, could only qualify 14th. Bottas finished 4th in the race, after Ricciardo jumped him during the pit stops. Bottas finished 2nd in Canada, behind teammate Hamilton, followed by a recovery drive in Azerbaijan to 2nd, having been in last place and a lap down following a collision with Räikkönen on the first lap. He used the multiple safety cars and red flag period to catch up to the pack and the ensuing chaos and drama in front of him allowed him to eventually snatch 2nd at the last moment of the last lap from Lance Stroll. Bottas topped this at the next race with a pole and victory at Austria, holding off Sebastian Vettel's charging Ferrari towards the end of the race, putting him only 15 points behind Hamilton in the championship.
On 13 September 2017, Mercedes announced that Bottas would be driving for them once again in the 2018 season. Bottas started off the season poorly in Australia, where he crashed out in Q3 and was given a five place grid penalty for changing his gearbox as a result, meaning he would start the race in 15th place; his teammate Hamilton started the race from pole. In the race, Bottas made it up to eighth place, benefiting from the virtual safety car as well as performing a few overtakes on a track where it is difficult to pass cars.
In the following race, the Monaco Grand Prix, Bottas qualified 2nd, behind team-mate Hamilton, breaking his streak of 3 consecutive poles, starting from China. He eventually finished 3rd, behind Sebastian Vettel and ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who faced a 5-second penalty for an unsafe release into the pit lane, into Bottas. This was the first race in 2019 to not have a Mercedes 1-2 on the podium as Vettel took 2nd ahead of Bottas. This race extended Hamilton's lead over Bottas in the Drivers' Championship to 17 points.
In January 2019 Bottas took part in the Arctic Rally, recording a stage win and finishing fifth overall.
At the end of the summer break prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, Bottas was confirmed to drive for Mercedes again in 2020, after the team decided not to promote reserve driver Esteban Ocon. Bottas took his first victory in thirteen races at the Japanese Grand Prix. In Mexico, he crashed heavily at the end of the final qualifying session, before eventually finishing the race in 3rd place. Bottas took his seventh career victory at the following race in the United States. Despite his victory, this race saw the end of Bottas' 2019 championship hopes, as teammate Hamilton finished 2nd to clinch the World Driver's Championship title. Bottas suffered an engine failure in Brazil leading to his second retirement of the season, and ended the season with a 4th place finish in Abu Dhabi.
Currently, Valtteri Bottas is 31 years old. Valtteri Bottas will celebrate 32nd birthday on Saturday, August 28, 2021.
Find out about Valtteri Bottas birthday activities in timeline view here.