Bottas underlines Finnish podium efficiency
23 June 2014 – Williams enjoyed its strongest weekend of the season at the Austrian Grand Prix, with a front row lockout being followed up by Valtteri Bottas reaching the podium for the first time in his Formula 1 career. Whilst a milestone personal achievement, the Finn also underlined his nation's talent on the motorsport world stage.
With his composed performance at the Red Bull Ring, Bottas became the seventh Finnish driver to stand on the Formula 1 rostrum, following in the footsteps of Keke Rosberg (17), JJ Lehto (1), Mika Häkkinen (51), Mika Salo (2), Kimi Räikkönen (77) and Heikki Kovalainen (4). These are excellent statistics for a relatively small country, with an estimated population of 5.5 million, and even more impressive given the fact that only eight Finns have ever started a race in the top echelon.
The only Finn unable to record a podium was Leo Kinnunen, the first man to represent the country in Formula 1. He contested just one race, the 1974 Swedish Grand Prix, dotted around five failed qualifying attempts. Mikko Kozarowitzky was the second Finnish driver to break through, but could not qualify from two efforts. He is thus absent from these statistics, along with drivers from other countries in a similar situation.
Finland's podium success rate now stands at 87.5 per cent, bettered only by Poland. The latter country has a perfect score, although it has yielded just one Formula 1 driver. This was Robert Kubica, who notched up 12 podium finishes between the 2006 and 2010 campaigns, including victory at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix.
Behind Poland and Finland, there are four countries tied on 50 per cent: This group is made up of Sweden (five out of 10 drivers) and Colombia, Russia and Monaco (one of two drivers).
Britain places in the midfield, holding 19th on 27.46 per cent. But it leads the way in terms of how many podium-visiting drivers it has generated, with 39 making the grade. The United States is second with 36, ahead of Italy (28), France (21), Germany (13), Brazil (9), Finland (7) and Belgium (6).
The Netherlands has the lowest podium percentage (7.14), with only one of its 14 drivers – Jos Verstappen at the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps during the 1994 season – finishing inside the top three positions.
Of the 39 countries to be represented in Formula 1 over the years, 28 have scored podiums. Ireland, East Germany, Uruguay, Czech Republic, India, Malaysia, Chile, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Morocco and Thailand are those without rostrum finishes.
Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher remains the driver with the most podiums, having collected a total of 155 trophies. Alain Prost occupies second on 106, ahead of Fernando Alonso (96), Ayrton Senna (80) and Räikkönen (77).
In Formula 1's 64-year history, Bottas is the 205th driver to finish on the podium.