Bottas: Massa will lift Williams

Bottas: Massa will lift Williams

Formula 1

Bottas: Massa will lift Williams

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Valtteri Bottas believes new Formula 1 teammate Felipe Massa’s experience will boost Williams in 2014.

Williams confirmed Monday that Bottas will partner Massa next season, and the Finn sees the veteran Ferrari driver as a positive addition to the team.

“It will be a good thing to add more experience to the team through Felipe,” Bottas said. “If you look at his performances in the second half of the year, he has been very quick compared to Fernando [Alonso] and we should not forget that he was nearly world champion in 2008. He has got so much experience from Ferrari, he has been in many different cars from them, he’s seen a lot of problems and has been with the team as they have been solving them, so that can also bring something to us.

“Since Pat Symonds arrived, I have seen some changes in how the race team works and how the factory works and most of the changes are still to come during the winter. With all these things together, I definitely see next year as much brighter.”

Bottas is confident he can stack up well against the 11-time grand prix winner, and expects to have a good working relationship with Massa even though he does not yet know him well.

“You need to believe in that and we will both be pushing hard to get points for the team and improve the car,” said Bottas when asked if he is confident of being able to beat Massa. “Of course, I do expect to be on the pace and possibly beating him.

“Felipe is a nice guy, I respect him as a driver, and he is quick and experienced. He is clever as well, so I’m sure next year we can together push the team hard and get the car better.

“To work with him will be good, there will be no problems at all and I’m looking forward to it.”

Bottas, who was already tied to the team by a long-term contract, added that he never gave any serious thought to moving elsewhere in 2014 even though Williams has struggled.

“I have been 100 percent committed to Williams. It was always the place I wanted to continue for 2014 and hopefully more,” he said. “It’s very natural to stay with the team. They gave me the opportunity to get to F1 first as test driver and then as a race driver, so for me it’s like a family.”

OPINION: BOTTAS HYPE JUSTIFIED
Edd Straw

Seventeen races and a grand total of zero points has led many to dismiss the hype surrounding Valtteri Bottas as hot air. But look closely and his rookie season has been impressive.

The 2013 Williams is a poor car, so it’s ridiculous to look at outright results to judge Bottas. His extraordinary qualifying performance in the wet in Montreal is the one time he’s had any hope of making an impact, and he did so brilliantly by lining up third.

His qualifying record against Pastor Maldonado is superb for a rookie, beating him 9-8. No matter what you think about the Venezuelan, he’s a good qualifier and capable of being seriously fast over a lap, so to have such a good record is something to write home about. And Bottas has come close to scoring on several occasions in a car that simply isn’t up to it.

But what is really impressive is the way he has dealt with this difficult situation. Others would complain about not being able to show their true ability. Bottas has simply kept his head down and tried to extract every last iota of knowledge and experience from 2013. That speaks volumes for the intelligent, mature and uncontroversial approach that will allow him to realise his potential.

This means that, if the Williams-Mercedes is as good as it should be next year, Bottas will be ready to capitalize on it. That’s why Williams has kept faith with him, just as he is keeping faith with the team.

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