Even before he reached F1 in 2013, Valtteri Bottas had been tipped by many as a future F1 star and by some even as a future world champion, so far in his second season he is not disappointing with back to back podiums.
The tell-tale signs were there showing off the talent that the young Finn has even from his 2011 GP3 Series win where he took to the top step of the podium seven times.
He took a year out from competitive racing in 2012 to become test and reserve driver for Williams, clearly he had been doing something right to impress the team as he was given the race seat for 2013.
In what was a season of disappointment for Williams in 2013 with one of their worst cars ever, Bottas provided proof that he could be the man to turn the team around, firstly the stunning P3 in qualifying for the Canadian GP which shocked so many, then with the 8th place points finish at Texas he would bring Williams four of their five points of the campaign.
Williams provided a much better car for Bottas and new team-mate Massa in 2014 and it wouldn’t take him long to show his skill and racing ability with a comeback drive from 15th to 5th, he would have likely made the podium had he not clattered the wall during the race.
He would continue to score points at every race up until the Monaco GP where he would retire, but it didn’t hold him back as he returned to form with another points finish in Canada, then came the big step up for Valtteri.
Austria and the return to Spielberg provided a thriller for Williams with a one-two in qualifying which Bottas took P2, the young Finn would put in a superb race to take his maiden F1 podium in 3rd place, he kept his composure and would only come home 8.6 seconds behind the dominant Mercedes.
Williams home race weekend in Silverstone didn’t get off to the best of starts for Bottas, firstly he didn’t take part in first practice as he handed the car over to reserve driver Susie Wolff, then when he did get in the car it didn’t break into the top 5 during practice 2 and 3.
Then came qualifying and in the mixed conditions Williams and also Ferrari struggled massively with Bottas only qualifying 17th though he would start the British GP from 14th due to other penalties around him, he had one of the quicker cars in the grid but could he rescue what had been a shocking weekend for the Grove based team?
Of course he could, Bottas turned in one of his best drives in his short career so far and was charging his way through the field and into points positions within a handful of laps, he made some cracking overtakes along the way to get into the position where he could challenge for a podium.
After the retirement of Rosberg, Bottas would be relatively unchallenged behind race winner Hamilton to secure his second podium in succession and his best result in F1 in front of the Silverstone crowd.
What next for Bottas? Sitting pretty in 5th in the drivers championship with 73 points, it would be no surprise to see Bottas perhaps move into a position to be the so-called ‘best of the rest’ which is currently occupied by Red Bull man Daniel Ricciardo who has 98 points, 25 ahead of the young Finn.
For sure we should expect a few more high points results and podiums, a race win isn’t beyond him either but he would need to benefit from Mercedes misfortune it would have to be said.
At just 24, Bottas is already turning heads in F1 and I am sure I’m not the only one that tips him as a potential world champion one day, whether it is with Williams or elsewhere I’m not sure, but he has the cool, the talent and the racing skill to go very far in the sport.