The waiting is almost over for Bottas

Wed Feb 6, 2013 10:49am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

JEREZ, Spain (Reuters) - New Williams Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas can hardly wait for the waiting to be over.

The Finn, advised by retired double world champion and compatriot Mika Hakkinen, spent last season learning the ropes as the team's reserve and now he is six weeks away from his race debut in Australia.

"It's been a much better wait here," smiled the 23-year-old in an interview at the Jerez test track on Wednesday as he looked forward to his first stint behind the wheel since November.

"I've waited two days now but it doesn't matter because I know I will have the next two days and then I will have the car many, many other times this season," he added as Venezuelan team mate Pastor Maldonado put in the laps before handing over for Thursday and Friday.

"So it's a different feeling, it's really nice to finally get it all started.

"I think the last race I've done was an F3 Macau race at the end of 2011. It's been a while, but it doesn't feel like that. I feel like I am definitely ready to race."

Last year, Bottas took part in Friday practice sessions at a majority of the grand prix weekends and then stayed on to watch and learn as much as possible while Maldonado and Brazilian Bruno Senna fought for points.

Senna has moved on, with Bottas identified early on as the rising star, and the Finn already has considerable expectation on his shoulders.   Continued...