Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas is Vijay Mallya's star of the season

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Valtteri Bottas has been the most impressive driver of the 2014 season, according to Force India Formula One team boss Vijay Mallya.

The 24-year-old Finn is enjoying his second full season in Formula One with the Williams team and has produced some excellent drives this year.

No other option

Speaking to Autosport, 58-year-old Mallya said: "There can be no two opinions that Bottas has been the star of the season so far."

Mallya compared Bottas' performances to that of his teammate, the former Ferrari man Felipe Massa, heaping praise on the less experienced driver.

"Here you have the great Massa, and here you have a guy who's come out of GP3, and the first thing that comes to your mind is that he's going to be half a second behind."

But of course that has not been the case and in fact Bottas has beaten Massa in almost every department on the track.

Shocked everybody

"He's shocked everybody and is doing a fantastic job under pressure.

"Not only does he have the killer instinct but also the maturity not to get flustered."

After eleven races of the season, the drivers are currently taking their mid-season break. And at this significant stage of the year Bottas' points accumulation is more than double that of Massa. 

Rule one of motor racing is that you must always beat your teammate. They are the one person who you are directly compared to in terms of support and equipment and to be beating a teammate with such an incredible track record as Massa, with such comfort, is outstanding.

When Massa arrived at Williams it was assumed he was going to be the main man, but it has not been the case.

Bottas' total of 95-points puts himself fifth in the drivers' standings, sat in great company behind Fernando Alonso and ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

His efforts have made such impact that he is even spearheading Williams' attack to directly take on Ferrari in the constructors' championship. They are just seven points shy of the most successful team in Formula One history and if Massa could up his game when the season restarts then it is a realistic possibility that they could finish ahead.

Admirable consistency

Especially if Bottas continues to perform like he has been. Just one retirement so far this season, his consistency has been admirable, finishing in the top ten in every other race. That includes three consecutive podium finishes.

He has displayed an abundance of talents including his one-lap-pace in qualifying along with overtaking and defensive ability on race day.

It was clear from early that Bottas was destined for Formula One after his victory in both the Formula Renault Eurocup and NEC championships in 2008. It was obvious that Motopark Academy were running a future F1 star.

He followed that up with two competitive seasons in the Formula Three EuroSeries, also winning the Masters of Formula Three two years running. But it was his 2011 GP3 series win which signified that he was ready for Formula One, albeit without having featured in either Renault 3.5 or GP2 series, which are the most recognised feeder formulas. 

Engine advantage

He is making the most of the advantage the Mercedes powered engines are giving the Williams car and I, like Vijay Mallya believe he has been truly wonderful this season.

Amongst some other excellent driver performances it must be said, Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Jules Bianchi and of course Daniel Ricciardo have all stood out. But Bottas has certainly made his mark and his potential is undeniable. 

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