Europe can race all year ’round, whereas
we can only do it in the summer. Plus,
it’s quite a small country, which means
the financial market is not massive, so
there’s not too many big companies that
actually support drivers and can give you
sponsorship. It’s not as easy maybe as in
other places with bigger financial potential.
“So many things are working against
having F1 drivers from Finland, but
“I don’t believe in magic, so I don’t
believe sisu is a magic thing.
It’s just how Finns are”
BOTTAS VS. HAMILTON, THE STORY SO FAR…
Unlike the Lewis Hamilton vs. Nico Rosberg tension at
Mercedes, the vibe with Valtteri Bottas has been good
so far – this despite their closeness in the title battle.
HEAD TO HEAD
With four wins and six poles, Hamilton had a fuller
highlights reel from the opening half of the 2017 season,
but Bottas’s consistency was keeping him in the hunt.
Hamilton had a five-place grid penalty in Austria for
an unscheduled gearbox change and started 8th
Start of a winning
habit... (LEFT) Valtteri
Bottas’s first career
grand prix win came
in Sochi, Russia.
Four races later, he
repeated the feat –
this time from pole
– at Austria’s Red
Bull Ring (BELOW).
somehow there’s been many.
“One thing I believe was very good when
I was young was the level of go-karting,”
he adds. “Even though we can only race in
the summer, the level was really high.
There were a lot of good drivers. And the
will to try and get somewhere, work hard
for it, and not give up definitely helps.”
The results of Finnish drivers in the past
also means the hopefuls karting during
that short Finnish summer are inspired
only by winners and champions, and have
high achievers to try and emulate.
“I’m a good example in that way,”
Bottas reveals. “I was watching Formula 1,
and in the 1990s we had many Finnish
drivers; we had both of the Mikas
[Hakkinen and Salo] and JJ Lehto. When
Mika [Hakkinen] won his titles in 1998 and
’ 99, as a kid I had just done two or three
seasons of go-karting, so for me that was a
massive motivation. He was a big hero for
me and I was thinking, ‘Wow, that’s really
where I want to be one day.’ It really made
a difference to me, so that definitely helps.
I guess that’s the same thing in many
other countries, but it does help.”
Bottas has enjoyed the support of
Hakkinen himself since 2008, receiving
guidance on his career soon after stepping
up from karts. While being able to draw
on his hero’s experience is a bonus, the
latest Finnish race-winner can point to
times in his career when his national
traits – a practical, tangible take on sisu, if
you will – have helped him perform.
“I think there’s many examples,” he says.
“In this sport it’s always up and down, and
going through different categories you
always have difficult seasons and difficult
76 SEPTEMBER 2017
AVG. QUAL. POSN.
Qualifying average is pre-grid penalty
(see note above)