INTERLAGOS, November 22nd, 2013 (F1plus/Bruno Ferreira).- Valtteri Bottas credits his strong performances shown at the last part of the current season to the transitional campaign he had with Williams in 2012.
Last year, the then reigning GP3 champion spent the whole time out of racing as the reserve driver for the Grove squad. Bottas had the opportunity to drive in 15 free practice sessions replacing race driver Bruno Senna and also attended all the meetings with the engineers, which helped him to understand all the procedures of a race weekend.
In an exclusive interview with F1Plus at Interlagos, the Finnish driver reckons that the process he has been through turned out to be perfect for him. “The year  has been actually like I expected – very busy, but still loving the driving. The preparation last year was so good so there were no real surprises”, he said.
He added: “Travelling with the team last year, driving at many Fridays, learning new tracks and spending the time with the team to see what the drivers were doing setting up the car... I’ve got a lot of information. Because of that there weren’t any surprises for me. It was the right decision just to focus on the reserve role.”
Although he felt comfortable with the car straight away, he still can see some improvement on his driving.
“I already felt good at the beginning of the season, but now I feel better. Little by little I feel I’m getting better and better. That maybe is difficult to see on the track, but I really feel I keep improving”, said Bottas.
His performance against his more experienced teammate Pastor Maldonado is seen by the driver as the icing on the cake.
“I’m happy with my performance because I managed to outqualify Pastor and at the moment I have more points. I’m happy for that because it’s still my rookie season.”
However, Bottas conceives his campaign was not as successful as expected due to the lack of performance shown by Williams.
“I think for us as a team it was a more difficult season than we hoped, for sure. We predicted we could’ve been quicker. However, throughout the season we managed to make improvements and finally I also got some points”, he said, after finishing eight at Austin.
“The points were very important. Not just for me, but also for the team because we can finish the season in a positive way, to make an improvement so that’s nice. “
Bottas is already confirmed to remain at Williams for a second season, which he admits to make him more relaxed.
“It feels very good to know what I’ll do next year. I’ve known it for some time already. On the other hand, at the car I’ll always try my best whether or not I know the future. But out of the race weekend I have some peace in mind because I know what I’m going to do.”
He believes that Williams package for 2014 season will allow the team to have a leap big enough to fight for top positions. From the next year, the British squad will have Mercedes power units, under the supervision of the veteran Pat Symonds.
“I have confidence we can do so much better. The new rules, new engines and especially the new exhaust rules can be very good for us.”
Bottas also expects to have a healthy relationship with his future teammate Felipe Massa, who will join Williams after eight years at Ferrari.
“I met him just once, at Williams’s announcement. He seems to be a nice guy and I’m looking forward to work with him. It should be no problems. His experience is good for the team and good for me as well.”