Bottas has rediscovered junior superstar form, says Wolff

Jonathan Noble

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 Jerry Andre / Sutton Images

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 Alexander Trienitz

Alexander Trienitz

Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC

Valtteri Bottas, Formula Renault NEC Alexander Trienitz

Alexander Trienitz

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro Satoshi Noma

Satoshi Noma

Valtteri Bottas, British F3

Valtteri Bottas, British F3 Stella-Maria Thomas

Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas leads Brendon Hartley in F3 Euro

Valtteri Bottas leads Brendon Hartley in F3 Euro Eric Gilbert

Eric Gilbert

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro Satoshi Noma

Satoshi Noma

Valtteri Bottas, Masters of F3 at Zandvoort

Valtteri Bottas, Masters of F3 at Zandvoort Stella-Maria Thomas

Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro Stella-Maria Thomas

Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro

Valtteri Bottas, F3 Euro Eric Gilbert

Eric Gilbert

Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP

Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP Stella-Maria Thomas

Stella-Maria Thomas

Valtteri Bottas, GP3

Valtteri Bottas, GP3 GP3 Series Media Service

GP3 Series Media Service

Valtteri Bottas celebrates GP3 title

Valtteri Bottas celebrates GP3 title GP3 Series Media Service

GP3 Series Media Service

Valtteri Bottas, GP3

Valtteri Bottas, GP3 GP3 Series Media Service

GP3 Series Media Service

Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP

Valtteri Bottas, Macau GP Stella-Maria Thomas

Stella-Maria Thomas