Much of the offseason talk surrounding Valtteri Bottas has been negative. Expect him to prove everyone wrong in the 2018 Formula One season. So far this offseason, there has been a lot of talk surrounding 28-year-old Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Valtteri Bottas, who is coming off of a career-best Formula One season in 2017 during which he won his first three races and finished in a career-high 3rd place in the drivers standings.
But despite this, much of the talk surrounding Bottas so far this offseason has been negative. First of all, the Formula One bosses ranked him as the 10th best driver in the sport. Secondly, there have been rumors floating around about Mercedes potentially already looking for a driver to replace him in the 2019 season after signing him to a one-year deal for the 2018 season a few months ago.
This is the case because of the fact that while Bottas had a career-best season in his fifth season as a Formula One driver and his first season driving for Mercedes, his statistics did not exactly measure up to the team’s recent standards.
From the 2014 to the 2016 season, Mercedes’ two drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, won 51 of the 59 races that were contested. The team won no less than 16 races and neither driver won less than five races in any of those three seasons. Neither driver finished lower than 2nd place in the drivers standings, either. Hamilton won two of the three championships in 2014 and 2015 and Rosberg won the other in 2016. Mercedes won all three of the constructors championships.
Hamilton won the championship and Mercedes won their fourth straight constructors championship this past season as well. However, Bottas’ three victories, a team-low since the 2013 season, gave the team 12 victories, which was also their lowest win total since 2013. His 3rd place finish in the drivers standings was also the worst by a Mercedes driver since 2013.
But the 2018 season could be very different for Bottas, as he will look to prove his doubters wrong and will certainly have a great shot to do so. With one season under his belt driving for Mercedes, he will be far more comfortable coming into this season than he was coming into the 2017 campaign.
Despite winning just three races, Bottas was one of the most consistent drivers in the 2017 season. His 13 podium finishes were tied for the lead among all drivers, and he finished all but one of the season’s 20 races. He finished in the top 5 in all but one of the 19 races that he finished and ended the season on a 15-race streak of top 5 finishes.
That streak, which is still active, includes two victories, the second of which coming in the season finale, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He will certainly have momentum to build on heading into the 2018 season. With 10 non-win podium finishes in 2017, Bottas should have what it takes to make the jump and become a regular race winner and thus a championship contender, which would prove all of his doubters wrong.
No one likes to be talked about in a negative context in the sports world no matter who you’re talking about. Will Valtteri Bottas quiet his doubters in the 2018 Formula One season by being a race winner on a regular basis and thus a championship contender? The season is set to begin on Sunday, March 25th with the Australian Grand Prix, a race at which Bottas finished in 3rd place in 2017.