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
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Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC
Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC
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Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro
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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
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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
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Photo by: Stella-Maria Thomas

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