Bottas confirmed as Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate for 2017

2017 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas has landed the prized seat at Mercedes for 2017 which was left vacant by outgoing world champion Nico Rosberg.

Valtteri Bottas biography
Bottas will partner three-times world champion Lewis Hamilton at the team. The 27-year-old has started all 77 of his previous races with Williams and achieved nine podium finishes, all with Mercedes power.

“It’s very exciting times for me,” said Bottas. “I think it’s going to take a while to understand that this is really happening.”

“It’s definitely another dream come true, to race in another team with such great history – especially in the recent years, which have been so impressive. I’m really proud to become a part of that and grateful to everyone at Mercedes for trusting my skills and giving me this opportunity.”

“I’ve had a really warm welcome so far. Of course, I have a lot more people to meet and new faces to remember. But initially everything has felt very good. I’m really impressed with the facilities and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better.”

“My first experience with Mercedes power was in F3 back in 2009 and, of course, I know the power unit well from the last three years with Williams. But there are a lot of new things to learn with the car and also with how the team operates at the factory, in testing and at the races.”

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff, who is part of Bottas’s management team, admitted the team had been stunned by Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire after winning the championship last year.

“Nico’s decision in December was a big surprise,” said Wolff, “certainly a challenging situation for the team to handle.”

“But weathering the storm makes you more resilient and we see this as another opportunity for the team to grow.”

“Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused. Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for us. He has an impressive track record in the junior categories and nine podiums in F1.”

“But now it’s time for the next level, to see how he can step up to challenge for race wins and for championships.”

“We know that we are already behind the curve in terms of preparations for the new season, so we’ve got a busy programme to get him integrated into the team. One thing is for sure: as I know Valtteri, he will give it everything.”

Felipe Massa has returned from retirement to take over from Bottas at Williams.

“I’m delighted that Felipe has agreed to come out of retirement to be a part of our 2017 campaign,” said deputy team principal Claire Williams.

“With Valtteri having a unique opportunity to join the current constructors’ champions, we have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to give Valtteri this fantastic opportunity.”

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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106 comments on “Bottas confirmed as Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate for 2017”


    1. That’s what Hamilton is thinking…..

    2. Bottas for sure?
      17th January 2017, 0:50

      I really hope that the Mercedes car is not the best one out there next season , and that bottas keeps doing the “impressive” starts that he has been. so good at it. Bottas always lost at least 2 positions every race last year. I think bottas is a mediocre driver who is going to be a hamilton’s cheerleader just like kovalainnen was to Hamilton in 2008-2009

  2. SHOCKING! lol

  3. The 2017 F1 season WILL be interesting.

    1. In a way every F1 season is interesting in some way

  4. Good, now lets hear that Lowe has gone to Williams and the pre-season news will be complete.

  5. He has the opportunity to emulate Nico now. Nico did 4 seasons with Williams and then moved to Mercedes. Bottas has also done 4 seasons.
    Both achieved multiple podiums with Williams and easily outclassed their team mates.

    1. He said nothing negative about Felipe…
      Please respect facts.

      As far as the people hating on Felipe… have you ever been offered millions to come out of retirement as a driver? Didn’t think so.

    2. Rosberg was beaten by Webber in 2006.

  6. Well, I’m excited by this. Always good to see a talented driver given an opportunity to actively compete for wins for the first time in their career.

    Make the most of this, Valtteri.

    1. Hear, hear!!

    2. spafrancorchamps
      16th January 2017, 15:36

      Talented driver? Not so much.

      1. Well he did beat Ricciardo to the Eurocup Formula Renault title in 2008 ;)


  8. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    16th January 2017, 15:07

    That is interesting! driver No. 77 has done all 77 of his f1 races with one team. Then he moves to another team. 77 is a huge number of races to do with just one team from when you first joined F1.

    Anyway, I thought it would be Bottas as soon as I heard Rosberg was leaving. I though he was the best and easiest choice out of who was available.

    1. @thegianthogweed I was 100% certain it would be Bottas. With the benefit of hindsight anyway.

  9. [q] Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff [i]is[/i] part of Bottas’s management team. [/q]
    Should be [b] was [/b] according to remarks made by Lauda.

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      16th January 2017, 15:31

      @seth-space What?

      1. @omarr-pepper Major tag fail.

        Translation: What about the apparent conflict of interest, with Wolff still being part of Bottas’ management team?

        1. The Blade Runner (@)
          16th January 2017, 15:47

          This is F1. Something as obvious as a conflict of interest is unlikely to be an issue.

          1. It was never an issue for Flavio and Nando…

          2. After he made the mistake to leave the merchandising rights fully to Schumi/Weber, Briatore wanted all drivers of his team to also be personally managed by him, and Fisichella and Button allegedly were both fired because they refused that.

    2. Keith is wrong. Wolff is not part of Bottas’s management team. He can’t have any commercial interest in a Mercedes contracted driver. It’s stated in his own contract and there is a board decision about it.

      Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff was part of Bottas’s management team (while Bottas was at the Williams).

    3. @seth-space We only use HTML tags around here for some reason

  10. I am so excited by this confirmation.

    I am a big believer in Bottas and I fully expect Valtteri to exceed people’s expectations at Mercedes. Far too many people see him as a safe choice, as someone who will be blown to shreds by Hamilton, but he is fast, consistent, committed and he has proven over the last few years that he can take opportunities to score big when they arise. He is also blindingly quick over a single lap as his several of his qualifying performances show (such as Sochi ’14 where he put it all on the line to try grab a pole he had no right to challenge for and his lap at Montreal in ’13).

    Make it count Valtteri!!

    1. I agree fully. I have been impressed by Bottas in and out of the car since his first season. His long history with Wolff makes this seem very right to me. His defensive ability combined with a solid Mercedes package will surely make for an exciting season.

    2. Well said @geemac

      Someone looking for some sort of comparison might look at the last time someone from Great Britain was paired with a Fin, and see who came out on top. Lewis isn’t a Coulthard, but hey, nothing’s happened yet!

      It’ll certainly be an exciting year, I can’t wait to get to Albert Park on the Thursday and see the cars!

      1. bugger, then was reminded of Lewis and Heikki just a few comments down… oh well! I tend to think Mika vs David is a more similar comparison.

  11. Oh god lol im a bigger Lewis fan than Bottas but love them both this will be hard for me. I never liked Nico atall just hope people dont bring up Bottas and toto relationship you know it is coming if Lewis has bad reliability. There is a very toxic bunch of Ham fans.

    1. Its just an easy story to spin for lazy journalists and TV people. I hope it doesn’t happen but if Ham struggles then its gonna be brought up.

  12. Better than Wehrlein but still a very boring decision. His season will probably be reminiscent of Frentzen’s 1997 or Kovalainen’s McLaren stint.

  13. So Bottas, although I think it was the wrong decision, but this is your shot. You can show it to all of us know-it-alls what you can do. Prove me wrong!

  14. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    16th January 2017, 15:32

    I think this is going to be so clearly one-sided, as when Hamilton destroyed Kovalainen…
    Oh look, another Finnish teammate to destroy!

    1. @omarr-pepper Give Bottas some time to adjust (3 races sound fair?) After that I’m not so sure, at the moment at least. If Bottas is even just a bit better than Rosberg – then Lewis has quite a fight on his hands, considering…

      1. I’m with you on that one, I have felt for a long time that he has had to play it safe, and if you open up the door for him to push (and in a great car) he could be extremely competitive! My fingers are crossed, I was tickled when Nico, beat Hammy, and and would love to see a good fight here as well, but I’m freakin American, what the hell do I know! ;-)

    2. Clearly (as @omarr-pepper has said) this will be one sided. Unless reliability or some externalities beyond racing affects Hamilton, he will have another championship. With first hand knowledge of the 2017 car at the start of the season and coupled with his race craft Hamilton will well and truly outclass Bottas. I may sound biased and unnecessarily critical but Bottas will have to really work hard to secure second place on Saturday if we have a competitive grid at the sharp end.

      1. I agree that Hamilton should finish ahead of Bottas in the standings, but that doesn’t mean that he will win the championship. Both Red Bulls should be in there too.

        1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
          16th January 2017, 17:53

          @philippe I hope the Ferraris too, wishful thinking…but I think this year, if RB becomes competitive again, will be Max’s WDC.

          1. I hope Ferrari too. But if it’s RB’s year, man it’ll be close between Dan and Max!

      2. “” Hamilton will well and truly outclass Bottas. I may sound biased “” nah… just a little.
        HAM is not a saint and mentally very fragile. So if Bottas put some pressure on him the results could be a unpleasant surprise for you.

  15. Bottas had a job keeping up with Massa last year. I don’t see him troubling Lewis who will be on a crusade this year after dropping (the ball) and losing the WDC.

    1. Seriously? Your sure it was F1 you watched in 2016?

  16. Sergey Martyn
    16th January 2017, 16:08

    C’mon Valtteri grab another title from Lewis!
    Just don’t want the repeat of trhe situation with Kvyat last year.

  17. 2017: Hamilton’s last year at Mercedes…

    1. No way. Hamilton is going NOWHERE. 2017 will re-cement his legacy.

    2. @Lolita To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised.

      Hamilton has taken a lot of disrespect from his team (whether perceived or real) over this past season, plus a load of hate from certain media outlets (anyone know a Jonathan Mc-whatshisname?) and ‘non’ fans, that it would not surprise me if he decided to retire from the sport when his current contract expires.

      Unlike a number of other retired drivers, I suspect he would have a number of other diverse paths to follow in life – globally, and especially in the US, other than being an F1 ‘ambassador’ or radio/TV commentator.

      Just mt personal thoughts!

    3. Mercedes 2018 line-up: Vettel – Bottas? ;-)

      1. ok that would be cool!

        1. I think Hamilton will win the WDC this year but he wont sign a new deal at Mercedes. He’ll finish his current deal at Mercedes and move on. I dont see him sticking around like Button and Alonso anyways.

      2. This needs to happen. Someone from F1Fanatic needs to infiltrate Hamilton’s mechanic team to cause some technical failure, so he goes down the “everyone including God punishes me for being black” route again. :D

  18. Worst secret ever. Interested to see what happens… I don’t think he will be crushed by Hamilton, but he will certainly have a run for his money.

  19. It only mentions 2017, so they are holding out for Vettel or Alonso joining Lewis in 2018??

  20. Bottas is on a 1 year deal.

    1. Is it confirmed? I certainly hope so.

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      16th January 2017, 17:41

      Source please?

    3. Offcorse he is, when you have 2 dream seats available, you try to get the best drivers possible. Only maybe Vettel and Alonso can force a team to make a multiple year commitment for them..

      Speaking of which.. Alonso and Vettel are avaliable for 2018…

      1. Isn’t Hamilton contracted to Merc for the 2018 season? As far as I am aware he has signed 2 3 year deals with Merc

        1st: 2013,2014,2015
        2nd: 2016,2017,2018

    4. Makes sense. Massa also on a one-year contract so if Bottas gets replaced at Mercedes then he goes back home to Williams.

  21. Bottas is underrated but is probably better than Rosberg. He doesn’t fear overtaking and takes whatever chances there are, unlike the ‘world champion’. He also gets along very well with Toto, unlike Hamilton, and we know how important that is at Mercedes – look at last season.
    I believe this is the beginning of the end for Hamilton at Mercedes. Hamilton will win the title this year and it might be his last in Mercedes colours – as I expect the Vettel – Ferrari relationship to finally go bad this season and for Vettel to become available end of season, contract notwithstanding. Mercedes will go for him, Lewis will head in the opposite direction.

    1. Well, if you are right that “Bottas is…better than Rosberg”, then Bottas will be racing Hamilton for the championship, and beating him.

      1. Please 🔴. The world knows how Nick “won”. Valtteri has yet to win a race.

        1. The world knows that he won by beating LH. You guys are like those people trying to convince the whole world that we’ve never been on the moon xD But I guess it wouldn’t be as fun without you. Don’t change anything :)

  22. I rate Bottas much more highly than Rosberg, so let’s see how things transpire…

    1. Rosberg is so underrated it baffles me. He is much better than Button because of his one lap pace and I suspect he would give Vettel a run for his money. The only area he sucked was wet racing but other than that he was in the top 5 on the current grid IMO. Ahead of him I would put Alonso, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Vettel is a toss up. Well, so maybe top 6 on the current grid lol.

        1. I dont agree, @blackmamba. I think there are plenty of drivers on the grid who could have done more with that amazing car and with less effort. Winning this year’s championship almost killed Rosberg. He put every ounce into the season and, at the end of it, he knew he never wanted to go through that again. And it took him 7 seasons to reach those heights: 2010-2016. Okay, the car wasn’t championship-winning material in the earlier years; but Rosberg was embedded in that team. Hamilton came in and emphatically beat him, and, in my opinion, has always looked much much stronger, even during the 2016 campaign. I believe Bottas could be a much greater challenge for the reasons outlined in @keithcollantine‘s article. But Bottas has only got a 1 year contract with an option to extend, so it will probably not be enough time for him to bed down with his new team and show his real potential before the likes of Vettel and Alonso become available. I’m not sad to see Rosberg leave F1; a lovely person, I am sure, but not an inspiring racer.

  23. I hope he gives Lewis a spanking!

    1. He won’t

    2. keep hoping

  24. I’m most excited about the increased chance of not getting a German or British anthem on the winners podium.

    1. And how did you come to that conclusion?

      1. Because Hamilton and rosberg won most of the races in the last 3 years, at least when bottas wins a race we’ll get a different anthem.

        1. Still German…

        2. But it will still be an German anthem?

        3. @emu55 You’ll still get the German anthem as long as team Brackley is both mercedes and keeps winning.

  25. Good for Bottas, I hope he can make a go of it. I cannot see him challenging Lewis much in the first year. But maybe if he gets more than one year.

    I think Mercedes made the right choice really. I’m not so sure about Williams who seem to have a rookie and someone who is a little past their best.

  26. Pretty predictable but good luck to Valterri. He’s quick but how quick, his benchmark was declining so we don’t know for sure. Lets hope he’s more Nico Rosberg and less Heiki Kovalainen. It could put Rosbergs efforts into context if Hamilton thrashes him

  27. Bottas is the new Rosberg.
    There, I said it!

    1. Private Eye’s neophiliac’s corner awaits you!

        1. Then Lewis should beat him for 18 straight years.

          1. Yea Lewis really showed him.
            I looked at 2013. Rosberg got 2 wins a second place and third place.
            Lewis got one win and three third places.But he did beat Rosberg in coming 5th a lot.

            I haven’t folowed f1 for a long time but before 2013 they weren’t teammates AFAIK.So when did he beat him 18 times ?15 years ago in carting ?

            Also i’s safe to say nobody knows who is better at the moment .Valteri or Lewis.

          2. @knight,,your comment shows you havent been watching f1 for no more than a year.

  28. So Mercedes shaped the line up of almost half of the teams…

  29. Not sure, why we would re-evaluate Nico’s performances.
    If Bottas does much worse than Hamilton, then it would just confirm that Williams had 2 underwhelming drivers throughout and a very good car. No difference to fans’ perception of Nico.

    If Bottas is close to Hamilton (like Nico was), it would confirm that Bottas is a safe pair of hands. Again confirming that Nico was a solid driver who if luck played a role could (and did) win a championship. No difference in fans’ perception of Nico.

    If Bottas is faster than Hamilton, then we would re-evaluate Hamilton, Nico, Button, Alonso, Massa, and others. So, once again, the relative perception of Nico’s abilities won’t change.

  30. No real surprise here, and I hope Valterri does well. Will be interesting to see how he fares against his teammate at the very least.

  31. Tega Enajekpo
    16th January 2017, 22:39

    ‘Valtteri let Lewis pass for the championship. Let Lewis pass for the championship, Valtteri please. ‘

  32. Another silent Finn to watch..

  33. Merc playing it safe. Not unexpected just a bit disappointing.

    I’m hoping Bottas hits the ground running and is super competitive. He’s been given a chance that only a few drivers get, so he needs to make the most of it or he’ll quickly be relegated to the ranks of “good but not great” drivers.

    Bring on testing now – we know who the drivers will be, now let’s find out if anyone has a competitive car.

  34. Easter egg alert – in every picture Keith has on here of Bottas at the Merc facility, his watch hands are set in the same alignment as the Mercedes logo…

    In two of the photos, the time is EXACTLY the same, so its not an acciden because the photos were at different places in the building.

    1. @mog Interesting observation.

    2. Its widely known that Mercedes drivers only use painted watches.

  35. I think alot has been said about the Bottas move to Mercedes already. However, very little is said of the lack of vision from Williams… In a year where they are raking in the Lance $$$’s, they’re choice of off-sider is Felipe? I can’t see the strategic benefit in that decision by Williams? 2017 is going to be painful for them, Felipe is not going to inject any forward momentum they need from the ageing Brazillian. As for Lance, he’d still need to be of massive talent to outdo the overtaking exploits of Mad Max, to be able to push Williams up the order in any way, even with the “coaching expertise” of Felipe. This is a very poor decision I think. It is one that will see Williams continue to spiral downward in 2017, I think they could even be behind HAAS and Renault by the end of the season.

    The other thought is, how are Williams using the Lance $$$’s, is it to fund the 2017 campaign, or are they saving it up? I’d say given their situation, they’re probably funding their campaign… I still can’t understand how Williams can be positive about this arrangement…

    1. Yes, I am pretty sure the Stroll money is mainly going towards developing a car that is fast, AND can be raced in the wet and on more tricky circuits as well as being able to keep up somewhat with development @dragoll

    2. What you say makes sense.

      I think their options were limited and the timeframe very short. Rosberg’s retirement caught everyone by surprise, and Williams didn’t have a backup plan for losing Bottas in this way. A lot has been made of Martini and the need for a driver over 25, maybe that’s what stopping them from promoting another rookie. But Vergne is over 25 isn’t he (contractual obligations aside), and he’s just one other option?

      Felipe is probably the cheapest choice and is a known quantity, along with Petrobras backing. Thats whats offsetting the probable lack of results in 2017. But lets wait and see.

    3. “I can’t see the strategic benefit in that decision by Williams?”

      Experienced driver going into an unknown set of regs? A driver who works well with the team and kept Bottas honest. What do you propose they do instead?

  36. The Telegraph are reporting that Bottas signed with Mercedes for one season, with an option to extend.

  37. Ok, now there’s 2 possible outcomes:
    – Bottas competes with Hamilton and proves that he’s a strong driver
    – he is destroyed by Hamilton and his carrer is basically over

    1. Rosbergs career wasnt over after being destroyed by Hamilton for 18 years.

  38. Always liked Bottas, and sure he will surprise a lot of people. But it will take more than a season to get fully up to speed with the limited testing of today.

    Like another finn, people underestimated Hakkinen, but he was the one who had what it took when it came to a last race showdown with Schumacher (IIRC he even did it twice), and who’s to say Bottas doesn’t have the same ‘sisu’. He’s seen pretty unflappable the times he’s been near the front.

  39. When Rosberg retired, as most drivers were already signed up for 2017, I thought the favourites for the space at Mercedes would probably be a driver from a team that used Mercedes engines, either Perez or Bottas, the main problem was that it would be hard for Force India or Williams to replace them considering they both had already lost one of their 2016 drivers and replaced them with an inexperienced driver and a complete rookie.

    Williams were able to solve this problem by bringing Massa out of retirement, and as Bottas’s move to Mercedes has been on the cards for weeks before the announcement it was not a surprise.

    I am however surprised by some of the reaction to the move, I think Bottas is a good driver, yes he is not in the top tier of drivers on the grid but he is probably the best that Mercedes could realistically have signed.

    His rating among some fans seems to have gone down in the last year or two, maybe because of the fact that he has not blown Massa away, but I still think he is a good driver.

    If you compare Bottas now to Rosberg when he left Williams to join Mercedes I don’t think they are that different, I don’t think Bottas in 2017 will be at the level that Rosberg was last year as obviously Rosberg had naturally improved since he joined Mercedes and experience plays a key part in that.

    The Rosberg who went up against Hamilton had the advantage of being settled in the Mercedes team for three years with the experience of having Schumacher as teammate before Hamilton joined and then he had the experience of three years of battles with Hamilton before he finally won the championship.

    Bottas has to adapt to a new team where it is a much more experienced Hamilton who is the driver that is the one who is settled, so initially at least Bottas should not be as competitive against Hamilton as Rosberg was.

    Another factor which may not be in Bottas’s favour could be if Mercedes do not have the performance advantage they have had the last few years. Mercedes domination has been such that unless Hamilton or Rosberg massively underperformed or something goes wrong they would be one-two in qualifying and the race.

    With the new rules for 2017, if the gap to Mercedes closes up significantly or if Mercedes no longer have the fastest car then it may appear that Bottas is not performing as well as he is.

    For example, if Rosberg was a few tenths slower than Hamilton he would still qualify second as there would be at least another half a second back to the opposition. However if Bottas has the same gap to Hamilton he may find there is not such a large gap to secure second and he could end up quite a few places back.

    Assuming everything is equal between Hamilton and Bottas in 2017 I fully expect Hamilton to win the battle of the teammates but I would be surprised if it is as one sided as some comments on this site suggest.

  40. richard cantelo (@)
    10th March 2017, 9:01

    Out of the 20 races this year, how many of them will Bottas out-qualify Hamilton ?

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