By Fraser Lloyd
There are so many people who say that Valtteri Bottas simply ‘isn’t cut out’ to be driving at Mercedes. As a fan of Valtteri, it’s easy to be seen as biased, but I genuinely believe his place at the team is justified.
At the time of Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement, the team were left with a vacant seat alongside Lewis Hamilton, and almost every driver wanting it. After 3 years of tension and title fights between Lewis and Nico, Mercedes were most likely after a driver who could be quick, consistent and play the team game. At the time Valtteri had multiple podium finishes and 4 seasons in F1 to his name, as well as showing on a regular basis that he was a driver of great skill. When the announcement came he would be joining the team, I wasn’t surprised.
In his first season, he scored 13 podiums (the same amount as Lewis and Vettel) and 3 wins, two of which saw him under huge pressure on the final lap, on his way to third in the championship. Although he hadn’t beaten his teammate, he had shown that he was a driver capable of consistently producing results and helping the team to another constructors’ title, earning him a second year with Mercedes.
2018 will be remembered as a difficult one for Valtteri. He finished fifth in the title race, while Lewis won his fifth title. It is easy to imagine him with another third place finish at the end of this season, however points were lost in Baku, France, and Austria, through no fault of his own.
Come 2019, many people were expecting his time at Mercedes to come to an end, but he bounced back excellently and won the season opener to take a maximum of 26 points. After four races he had taken another win in Baku to be one point clear of Lewis. Across the season, although he lost out on the title, he took two more victories including a dominant display in Suzuka to finish second in the championship.
Obviously in 2020, everything is up in the air as to when the season will start, but it is for certain that Valtteri will come back stronger than ever, ready to fight for title.
There are many things that make Valtteri my favourite driver, and I’m sure many of his other fans would agree. He is such a down to earth and genuinely great person, who is fast in the car while also respectful. I can still remember being really happy when he scored his first points in 2013, his first podium in 2014, and his first win in 2017. If he wins a title, I can only imagine!
I thoroughly believe that this is his best chance yet to win the crown and that he deserves to be at the team for a fourth consecutive season. He has not only kept harmony within the team, but helped the team to win 3 constructors’ titles. He’s only 30 years old, and there is surely more to come!
Be sure to follow Fraser Lloyd on Twitter @_FraserLloyd!
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