Valtteri Bottas took two wins in the 2020 F1 season, but never seemed like a genuine title threat to team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Here are all the facts and statistics from Valtteri Bottas’ 2020 F1 season!
Valtteri Bottas’ season got off to the best start, with him taking pole and winning. He led the title race for the first two rounds, but never seemed to be a genuine title contender thereafter. It’s fair to say that the Finn had his share of bad luck: while Hamilton was able to coast home with his puncture in the British Grand Prix, the same issue for Bottas dropped him from second place to outside the points. He suffered wing damage which curtailed his race in Hungary. He recorded Mercedes’ only retirement of the season when running behind his team-mate at the Eifel Grand Prix. All of the above were factors which led to him finishing 124 points behind his team-mate – and only nine points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Though Bottas seems unable to challenge Hamilton to the extent that Nico Rosberg did, he does show championship-winning potential on occasion. Of the 48 qualifying sectors where both set times in 2020, Bottas out-paced Hamilton in 19 of them – no easy feat against a seven-time World Champion. Nevertheless, with George Russell stepping in at the Sakhir Grand Prix and qualifying just two hundredths slower than Bottas, before overtaking him off the line and comfortably leading for most of the race, Bottas’ future at the team beyond next season is likely to be under more focus than ever in 2021.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Austria: For a second year in a row, Valtteri Bottas won the first Grand Prix of the season. He became the eighth driver to have recorded multiple wins at the Austrian Grand Prix, and the Red Bull Ring became the first circuit at which Bottas has taken two wins. The 2020 Austrian Grand Prix is the first race which Bottas has led from start to finish. The Finn is the first driver to lead the Austrian Grand Prix from start to end since Jacques Laffite did so in 1981.
Styria: Valtteri Bottas became now the driver who has led the most Grand Prix laps in Austria in Formula 1 history. Having led seven laps of the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, Bottas has led 149 laps in total in Austria, overtaking Nico Rosberg, who led 143 laps here during his career. After finishing second in the 2020 Stryian Grand Prix, Bottas equalled David Coulthard as the driver to have had the most podium finishes at the Styrian track.
Hungary: Valtteri Bottas finished third at the Hungarian Grand Prix. It was his 48th podium finish – which is the same number of top three finishes as Gerhard Berger recorded in his career. He topped the timesheet in Free Practice 3, marking the first time that the Finn has been fastest in any session at the Hungaroring.
Britain: Qualifying in second place, Valtteri Bottas equalled Lewis Hamilton’s record of most consecutive Q3 appearances. The 2020 British Grand Prix marked the first time that Bottas finished a race in a position outside of the points since he finished eleventh at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was also the first time that the driver starting second on the grid at Silverstone has failed to score since Mark Webber in 2008.
70th Anniversary: Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix – the thirteenth pole of the Finn’s career. Along with pole position, Bottas set a new record for most consecutive Q3 appearances. This was the 67th consecutive race in which Bottas has qualified in the top ten, having done so at every race weekend since the 2017 Australian Grand Prix. He beats the previous record of 66 consecutive Q3 appearances, set by Lewis Hamilton between the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix and the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix.
Spain: For the first time in his career, Valtteri Bottas made the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix the second consecutive race in which he finished in third place. Bottas became the sixteenth driver to have recorded 50 podium finishes in his career as well as the sixteenth driver to have set the fastest lap in a Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Bottas was the first Mercedes driver to finish third at the Spanish Grand Prix since Juan Manuel Fangio did so in 1954.
Belgium: Valtteri Bottas recorded his best Belgian Grand Prix result with second place, having previously finished third in 2014 and 2019. Bottas became the 21st driver to have finished on the podium at Spa Francorchamps three or more times. He equalled Mika Hakkinen as the Finnish driver with the second-most podiums in Formula 1. Only Kimi Raikkonen has more podiums than the 51 scored by Bottas and Hakkinen.
Italy: For the first time, Valtteri Bottas started the Italian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid. He finished fifth in the race, meaning that this is the fifth time in the last six races that Bottas has finished the Grand Prix in a worse position than where he qualified. In fact, the Styrian Grand Prix was the only race where he has finished in a better position than where he started up to this point in 2020.
Tuscany: Valtteri Bottas recorded the 52nd podium finish of his career at the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, putting him fourteenth in the all-time list of most top three finishes in World Championship history; one ahead of fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen. Mugello is the 22nd different circuit at which Bottas has finished in the top three. He’s only the twelfth driver to have achieved this. The other eleven drivers who have done so were all crowned World Champion at some point in their careers. The only other drivers who have recorded podium finishes at 22 different circuits before being crowned World Champion were Nigel Mansell, in 1991, and Nico Rosberg, in 2016.
Russia: Despite failing to qualify on the front row of the grid for the first time since the Styrian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas took the ninth victory of his career at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. He became the second driver, after team-mate Lewis Hamilton, to have taken multiple wins at the Russian Grand Prix. Bottas also won the race in 2017. Both of the Finn’s victories at the circuit have come from third on the grid.
Eifel: Valtteri Bottas recorded the fourteenth pole position of his career at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix. It was his third pole position of the 2020 season – his first since the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Bottas became the 25th different driver to have taken pole position at the Nurburgring. He was less lucky on Sunday, becoming the second retirement from the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix. It was his first retirement since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix and Mercedes’ first non finish of the season. It was the first time that the polesitter has retired since Daniel Ricciardo did so at the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix.
Portugal: With second place at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas recorded his 54th podium and equalled Niki Lauda’s career tally of top three finishes. He moved up to thirteenth in the all-time list of most podiums, alongside the Austrian. Bottas is the second Finnish driver to record a podium finish at the Portuguese Grand Prix. The only other top three finish for a Finn in the country was for Mika Hakkinen, who finished third in 1994.
Emilia Romagna: Valtteri Bottas took his fourth pole of the 2020 season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. It was the fifteenth pole position of his career, putting him 21st in the all-time list of most pole positions in Formula 1. Bottas is the thirteenth different driver to have taken pole at Imola, and he is the fourth Finnish polesitter in the last nine races at the circuit. Mika Hakkinen took pole in 1999 and 2000, while Kimi Raikkonen started from the front of the grid in 2005. Imola is the twelfth different circuit at which Bottas has taken pole position. He is only the sixteenth driver to have taken pole at that many tracks. In the race, Bottas became the first polesitter to finish as runner-up since Sebastian Vettel at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.
Turkey: Valtteri Bottas qualified only ninth for the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix, making this the first time he has qualified outside of the top six since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix. After spinning six times in the race, Bottas finished only fourteenth. It was the sixth time in total that he has finished a Grand Prix in fourteenth place, and the first time he had done so since the 2016 British Grand Prix.
Bahrain: Qualifying in second place for the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, the driver of car number 77 reached Q3 for a 77th consecutive race. Valtteri Bottas is the first driver to reach Q3 at 77 successive races. Bottas finished the race in eighth place, marking the first time he has failed to finish on the podium at two consecutive races since the 2019 German and Hungarian Grands Prix. Bottas’ eighth place ended a six-year streak of both Mercedes drivers finishing on the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sakhir: Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. It was the sixteenth pole of his career and his second pole at Bahrain International Circuit. With his sixteenth career pole, Bottas equalled Stirling Moss and Felipe Massa as the driver with the nineteenth most poles in Formula 1 history. Bottas’ pole time clocked in at 53.377 seconds – a new record for the shortest pole lap time in Formula 1. The former record, a 58.79 second lap set by Niki Lauda at the 1974 French Grand Prix, stood for over 46 years. Bottas finished in eighth place for a second consecutive race, marking the first time a polesitter has finished eighth since Sebastian Vettel did so at the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix. This is the first time that Bottas has failed to finish on the podium at three consecutive races since the end of the 2018 season.
Abu Dhabi: After out-qualifying his team-mate at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time since 2017, Valtteri Bottas recorded his 56th podium finish, putting him one short of equalling Nico Rosberg’s career tally of top three finishes.
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.