Despite a strong start to the year, Valtteri Bottas was unable to beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the title. The Finn still enjoyed his most successful year in F1 yet. Here are all the facts and statistics from Bottas’ 2019 season!
Dubbed ‘Valtteri 2.0’, Valtteri Bottas emerged ready to fight at the start of the 2019 F1 season. Taking the lead of the championship for the first time in his career after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was this the year that Bottas emerged as a genuine title contender? After finishing as runner-up to his team-mate in Bahrain and China, Bottas won in Azerbaijan seizing the title lead once again.
Then he dealt another blow in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, with a whopping six tenth advantage over his team-mate, scoring his third pole in succession. But then Lewis Hamilton took the lead at the start and Bottas never came back in the championship fight. He failed to win again until the Japanese Grand Prix, by which point Hamilton already had one hand on the trophy. Bottas took his fourth win of the year at the United States Grand Prix, as Hamilton clinched another title win.
There have been high points along the way for the Finn, who took fifteen podium finishes over the course of the year and amassed more points than he has in any other season. He also closed the year with a great comeback drive from last on the grid to fourth. It’s hard to decide whether Bottas should be disappointed or enthused by his 2019 campaign. But if one can be disappointed with their best season to date, it perhaps shows that Bottas’ focus is on only one thing: the 2020 World Championship.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX:
Australia: Following the fourth win of his career at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas led the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in his career.It was the first time someone other than Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel led the title race since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the first time since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix that a driver other than Hamilton, Vettel or Nico Rosberg has led the Drivers’ Championship.
Bahrain: With second place in the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas became the tenth driver to surpass 1,000 points scored in his Formula 1 career. Bottas has now finished on the podium three times in Bahrain, and this marked the eleventh podium for a Finnish driver at the track – ensuring Finland remains the most successful nation by way of podiums in Bahrain.
China: Valtteri Bottas took his first pole of the 2019 season, and his first at the Chinese Grand Prix. Bottas took pole by 0.023 seconds – the closest pole margin ever seen in Shanghai, and the equal-fifth smallest pole margin in the hybrid era. It was exactly the same margin by which the Finn took pole his maiden pole at the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Azerbaijan: Valtteri Bottas won the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix by 1.524 seconds. It was the smallest win margin seen so far in Azerbaijan. Bottas also won the race in the shortest time so far at the circuit, with his drive to victory lasting 59.424 seconds less than the 2016 race, which was won by Nico Rosberg.
Spain: Curiously, Valtteri Bottas became only the second polesitter at Catalunya to finish as runner-up in the race. It was the first time it has happened since Michael Schumacher finished second having started from pole in the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix. Just like Bottas, Schumacher also lost the race to the man who started second on the grid.
Monaco: Valtteri Bottas recorded his first front row start in Monaco. The qualifying result saw Mercedes surpass McLaren’s tally of 63 front row lock outs.
Canada: For the first time in 2019, Valtteri Bottas failed to finish on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix. Bottas finished fourth, making it the first time he has failed to finish on the podium at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since the 2014 season.
France: Valtteri Bottas finished on the podium for the 37th time in his career at the 2019 French Grand Prix. As a result, he overtook Graham Hill’s tally of career podiums and equalled Riccardo Patrese. It was the third time a Finnish driver has finished on the podium at Circuit Paul Ricard, and Bottas became the first Finn to finish as runner-up here since Keke Rosberg in 1985. His second place finish also saw Mercedes secure their 50th 1-2 result.
Austria: The 2019 Austrian Grand Prix marked the first time since the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix that Valtteri Bottas has finished on the podium without his team-mate also finishing in the top three.
Britain: On Saturday at the 2019 British Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas recorded the tenth pole position of his career. He became the 34th F1 driver to have taken pole position at Silverstone and the 34th different driver to take ten pole positions in their F1 career. With just 0.006 seconds separating Bottas from team-mate Hamilton in qualifying, Bottas set a new record for the smallest pole margin in the V6 hybrid era. The previous smallest margin was 0.007 seconds at the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix. At this point, six of the twelve smallest pole margins in the hybrid era had been taken by Bottas.
Germany: After crashing out of the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas recorded his first DNF, as well as his first non top five finish, since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.
Hungary: Valtteri Bottas reached Q3 for the 53rd consecutive time at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, equalling Kimi Raikkonen’s tally of consecutive Q3 appearances, which came to an end at the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix. At this point, only Lewis Hamilton (66) and Nico Rosberg (60) had more consecutive Q3 appearances.
Belgium: At the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas became the first driver to finish on the podium having started from fourth at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit since Fernando Alonso in 2005.
Italy: Valtteri Bottas recorded his third consecutive Italian Grand Prix podium finish in 2019. It was his 41st podium finish in total, equalling the career tally of Felipe Massa. It means that a Finnish driver has finished in second place at Monza in all of the last three seasons.
Singapore: 2019 marked only the second time that Valtteri Bottas has finished the Singapore Grand Prix in a worse position than where he started from. He started fourth and finished fifth, losing one position. The other time he has lost positions at the track was in 2014, when he finished three places down on where he started.
Russia: Valtteri Bottas recorded his fourth top three finish at the Russian Grand Prix in 2019, marking the 42nd time that the Finn has finished on the podium in total. He equalled the career podium counts of both Mark Webber and Damon Hill. Bottas’ podium was the sixth for a Finnish driver at the track, meaning that Finnish drivers now have more podium finishes here than drivers from any other nation.
Japan: Valtteri Bottas recorded the sixth win of his career at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix. It was his third win of the 2019 season and the first win for a Finnish driver at Suzuka since Kimi Raikkonen won in 2005. Bottas equalled the win tallies of Tony Brooks, John Surtees, Jochen Rindt, Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques Laffite, Riccardo Patrese and Ralf Schumacher. The race was also Bottas’ 100th finish inside the points, making him the fourteenth driver to have scored points at 100 Grands Prix. As Bottas became the sixteenth different driver to have won the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, he also became the first driver to do so having started from the second row of the grid. It’s only the fifth time that a Grand Prix at this track has been won away from the front row, and the first time since Fernando Alonso won from fifth on the grid in 2006.
Mexico: Valtteri Bottas recorded the 44th podium finish of his career at the 2019 Mexico Grand Prix, surpassing Jackie Stewart for eighteenth in the all-time list of most podium finishes. His third place finish marked the first time that a Mercedes driver has finished in third place at this circuit.
USA: With his seventh Grand Prix victory, Bottas equalled the win tallies of Rene Arnoux, Juan Pablo Montoya, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. He also equalled Carlos Reutemann’s total of 45 career podiums. Bottas appeared in Q3 for the 60th consecutive event. With that, he equalled Nico Rosberg as the driver to have had the second-most consecutive Q3 appearances. Rosberg appeared in Q3 at every race between the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix and the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Bottas’ current streak started when he joined Mercedes, meaning that Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate has appeared in Q3 at all of the last 120 races.
Brazil: Valtteri Bottas retired from the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, recording his, and Mercedes’, second retirement of the season. Despite failing to finish, Bottas recorded the thirteenth Fastest Lap of his career. This was the first time the driver who set the Fastest Lap failed to finish the race since Lewis Hamilton at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. It left Bottas equal 25th for most Fastest Laps, tied with Alan Jones, Riccardo Patrese and Daniel Ricciardo. Bottas is the ninth driver to have taken multiple Fastest Laps at Interlagos.
Abu Dhabi: At the last race of the 2019 season, Valtteri Bottas set a new record for the furthest back grid slot to have scored at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Finn finished fourth having started twentieth due to a grid penalty. While it was the first time a driver starting from further back on the grid than eighteenth has scored a point, drivers starting from the pit-lane have scored on three occasions.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.