MONZA, Sept 4 ― Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton heaped praise on Frank Williams yesterday following the announcement that he and his daughter Claire will cut all ties with their team and the sport following this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.
The Finn, who started his career with Williams, said he owed his career to the Williams family and their racing team.
Six-time world champion Hamilton said he once dreamt of driving a Williams car and regarded Frank Williams as one of the most honest people in the sport.
“It was his life project and I think he's done really well and I think the whole family should be very proud of what they've achieved,” said Bottas, talking to reporters during a video news conference ahead of the Monza event.
“I still remember the day, the first time when I went to the factory,” he added.
“I met Frank and then eventually I got that opportunity to become a test driver and then used that opportunity and they gave me the chance to be a race driver. They really believed in me and they gave me the opportunity to show what I can do.”
Bottas won his first F1 points and first podium with the veteran British team.
He said: “I was quite sad to see the news that the family is kind of stepping away from the race team and even Frank is going to be pretty much aside.
“The many things they achieved in Formula One is really impressive by a family team so it's very sad, but I'm very thankful to everyone there.”
Hamilton said he had always been an admirer of Williams.
“I'm a big fan of Sir Frank and his incredible contribution to the sport,” said Hamilton.
“He was always so positive to me and he was one of the people I respected most here.
“I think he was probably one of the most honest, if not the most honest, people here in F1 so it's definitely sad to see the end of the chapter, the end of a book, but I think their legacy will continue as I believe they keep the name at least.” ― AFP