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MOTORSPORT: Bottas excited for Williams debut
10:30am Saturday 16th March 2013 in Sport
Season’s previews for Oxfordshire’s Formula 1 teams
VALTTERI Bottas can’t wait to make his Formula 1 debut in the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne tomorrow.
The 24-year-old Finn replaced Bruno Senna at the Grove-based Williams 1 team during the close season and will team up with No 1 driver Pastor Maldonado for the new campaign which starts this weekend.
Bottas said: “The winter has seen me preparing hard for the demands of driving a full race which I haven’t done before in Formula 1.
“However, I’ve always done a lot of fitness training and have driven a lot of miles over the past few years with the team, so I’m feeling fully prepared. “The first Grand Prix of my career is a big thing for me and I can’t wait for the lights to go out in Melbourne and see how the new FW35 car performs against the competition.
“As a team, I think we should be aiming to score more points than last year and really get the most out of the car.
“Personally, I hope to look back and feel that I have learnt a lot and developed as a driver over the course of the season, having scored a lot of points for the team.”
With in-season testing banned, Bottas was given plenty of mileage in the 2012 Williams by taking part in 15 free practice sessions sessions in Senna’s car.
He is therefore one of the better prepared rookies on the 2013 grid and is hoping to turn that into points over the course of the year.
Maldonado, who ended Williams’s eight-year drought by winning the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, carries Williams’s main hopes.
The Venezuelan, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Sunday, said “Obviously we don’t know what other teams have done and you can only learn so much during testing, but we expect to be more competitive than last year.
“I like street circuits, so I always enjoy coming to Australia and now I just want to start the season and find out where we stand.”