Salo: Bottas in best possible team for rookie
11 March 2013 – Williams driver Valtteri Bottas is in the best possible team for a rookie ahead of his Grand Prix debut in Australia. This is according to fellow Finn and ex-Formula 1 pilot Mika Salo, who has backed the the 2011 GP3 Champion to perform well at the squad.
Bottas, who replaced Bruno Senna at the end of 2012, will become the eighth Finnish driver to take part in a Formula 1 race this weekend, with Salo confident that the 23-year-old will be able to show his true potential over the course of the season.
"Valtteri is in a good team," Salo told GPUpdate.net. "It is the best possible team a beginner could have. They are so experienced and they have a lot of nice people working there."
Although Bottas is embarking upon his maiden campaign as a race driver, Salo reckons his compatriot's recent free practice and testing experiences will pay dividends throughout the year.
"He did a good job last year in the Friday free practice sessions; he knows most of the circuits already so I think he will be OK," Salo went on to explain. "He also has a good team-mate, Pastor [Maldonado] was very quick last year. If he can match Pastor from the beginning he will look good."
Bottas made 15 practice appearances for Williams in 2012. However, his maiden outing came at Sepang, meaning he has not completed a lap of Melbourne's streets.
List of Finnish drivers to start a Formula 1 race:
Leo Kinnunen (1974): 1 start
Keke Rosberg (1978-1986): 114 starts, 5 victories, 1 world title
JJ Lehto (1989-1994): 62 starts
Mika Salo (1994-2000, 2002): 109 starts
Mika Häkkinen (1991-2001): 161 starts, 20 victories, 2 world titles
Kimi Räikkönen (2001-2009, 2012-present): 176 starts, 19 victories, 1 world title
Heikki Kovalainen (2007-2012): 109 starts, 1 victory