Bottas has rediscovered junior superstar form, says Wolff

Valtteri Bottas has returned to Formula 1 this year as brilliant as the superstar he was in his junior career, reckons Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

Bottas has rediscovered junior superstar form, says Wolff

The Finn started off his 2019 campaign in perfect style with a dominant victory in the Australian Grand Prix, firmly putting to bed the frustrations of last year when he failed to take a win.

Having had a winter to reset himself to ensure he hit the ground running, Bottas just missed out on pole position in Melbourne and then charged away to a win after taking teammate Lewis Hamilton at the start.

For Wolff, who played a part in guiding Bottas’ junior career, the form that he witnessed last weekend was back to the kind of stunning form that carved his reputation when he first started out.

“In 2008 I got a call from a young boy who asked for a meeting,” reflected Wolff on Bottas. “It was snowing in Vienna and this young Finnish boy came in with a pullover, no jacket, and asked for advice.

“That young boy went on to dominate the Formula Renault Eurocup in a strong year with [Jean-Eric] Vergne, [Daniel] Ricciardo, [Roberto] Merhi, and he led almost the whole season. This is the Valtteri Bottas that I have seen yesterday and today. It was in him.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, celebrates victory

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, celebrates victory

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Sutton Images

“I think that maybe his years at Williams and then the shock draft into Mercedes was something that he needed to digest. 

"He went off tired at the end of the season and came back the 2008 young man. Obviously I'm very happy and he deserves it.”

Wolff thinks that Bottas’ step in form is simply the result of a better mindset, having come in to this year openly admitting that he wanted to be a tougher driver.

“Since I started to work with drivers 15 years ago I tried to comprehend what's going on in their brains, and I don't,” he said.

“How he recovered from being written off as not being up to the job in the second half of last year, to one of the most dominant victories that we've seen in recent years just shows us human potential and how much it is a mind thing.

“For me also it's a bit of a fairytale: don't let others break you, and believe in yourself. He's just showed us the whole weekend. There was not one single session that he wasn't good enough.”

Wolff said he had no doubts that Bottas’s flawless performance in Melbourne was the best race of his life.

“I think I've seen most of the races in his career in all the categories and this was the strongest,” he said. “I think the car was very good with the tyres, but Lewis is a very, very competitive driver.“

Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC
Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC
1/14

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC
Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC
2/14

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
3/14

Photo by: Satoshi Noma

Valtteri Bottas, British F3
Valtteri Bottas, British F3
4/14

Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas leads Brendon Hartley in F3 Euro
Valtteri Bottas leads Brendon Hartley in F3 Euro
5/14

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
6/14

Photo by: Satoshi Noma

Valtteri Bottas, Masters of F3 at Zandvoort
Valtteri Bottas, Masters of F3 at Zandvoort
7/14

Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
8/14

Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
9/14

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP
Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP
10/14

Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas, GP3
Valtteri Bottas, GP3
11/14

Photo by: GP3 Series Media Service

Valtteri Bottas celebrates GP3 title
Valtteri Bottas celebrates GP3 title
12/14

Photo by: GP3 Series Media Service

Valtteri Bottas, GP3
Valtteri Bottas, GP3
13/14

Photo by: GP3 Series Media Service

Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP
Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP
14/14

Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas

shares
comments
Giovinazzi's Australian GP "more or less over" on first lap

Previous article

Giovinazzi's Australian GP "more or less over" on first lap

Next article

F1's fastest lap bonus: A much-needed addition?

F1's fastest lap bonus: A much-needed addition?
Load comments
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021