Frank Williams. Source: The F1 News.

Valtteri Bottas paid tribute to the late Sir Frank Williams, thanking him for making him who he is today.

Bottas and Williams go back a long way. The Finn joined F1 as a Williams driver in 2012. He took a year away from racing to become the team’s test driver, before landing their racing seat a year later.

With Williams, Bottas earned his reputation as a top driver, and it was that resume that made Mercedes sign him for 2017. The departed legend played a key role in helping him realise his potential, and the 10-time race winner was the first to agree.

Bottas paid tribute to Frank Williams, and hailed him for his ambition and dedication to racing.

As quoted by RaceFans, when asked how he would remember the former team principal, Bottas replied, “As a friend, as a character that motivated a lot of people.

“I think when I was there, the whole factory was racing for Frank because it was his passion and his ambition to have a successful team on top.

“He was the guy who gave me the opportunity to get into Formula 1. So without Frank and him giving me the opportunity to show myself, I wouldn’t be sitting on this seat right now.

Valtteri Bottas, Frank Williams, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2014
Bottas (left) with the late Sir Frank Williams (right). Source: f1fanatic.co.uk

“I’m going to miss him, but I’m not going to be the only one. He was a nice guy, a legend that everyone loved.”

Legend forever

The former Williams driver’s thoughts were echoed by a current one, with George Russell paying his respects to his mentor.

“(I) remembered going to meet him for the first time, feeling a bit nervous back in 2018, but within seconds, to be honest, you recognise how warm-hearted he is and the sort of personality he has,” Russell said.

“He was such a great human being and so well-loved from everybody within the team and obviously the wider community of Formula 1 as well. So he’ll always be a legend within Formula 1.”

Williams will race in Saudi Arabia with a special tribute on their car to the man who defined them.

Read more: Sir Frank Williams passes away at 79 as tributes pour in for F1 legend

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