Valtteri Bottas scored his maiden Formula One victory Sunday in Russia. Fitting a man of few words won in a land full of people with few words. Bottas’ victory is long over due considering it took 81 races to get to this point. After coming close a few times with Williams it only took the Fin four races in a Mercedes to break through. His win reminded me of another Finnish driver to win after switching to a top tier team.
Heikki Kovalainen won the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2008 for McLaren when he was tabbed to partner Lewis Hamilton following Fernando Alonso’s departure. That would be his one and only win in his short 6 year career. Kovalainen also left a team that wasn’t quiet on the cusp of winning yet for a proven winner. He was brought in to partner Lewis Hamilton, although Bottas was told he is on equal standing where Kovalainen went in knowing he was the #2 driver. After 2009 McLaren kicked Kovalainen to the curb for reigning world champ Jenson Button.
Will The Same Happen To Bottas?
We know that Bottas is at Mercedes on a one year deal. Meaning the silver arrows team could easily let him walk at the end of the season and find someone new to partner Lewis Hamilton. The team could also keep Bottas for another year and then move on like McLaren did. Esteban Ocon by all accounts is destined for a Mercedes seat, the same could maybe be said for Pascal Wherlein.
Unfortunately for Bottas his time at Mercedes likely won’t be until the end of his career. For him though he needs to parlay it into a better post-win ride than Kovalainen who left McLaren and went to the upstart Lotus team. Bottas should be able to either return to Williams or possibly move to Ferrari or even McLaren should Mercedes move on from him.
For now though Valtteri Bottas is a Formula One race winner. Not many guys on the grid can say that currently and he has a legit shot at winning the championship at the moment. Bottas is making the most of his opportunity at the moment.
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