Williams Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas is already the "real deal" as a racer, according to the team's new head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley.
Long-time Ferrari engineer Smedley left the Scuderia earlier this year and joined up with his new team for the first time in the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he saw Bottas qualify a season's best fourth for the Grove-based squad.
Smedley said Bottas had impressed him from afar during the Finn's rookie season in F1 last year, where he qualified third in the wet in Canada and scored the recalcitrant FW35's best result of 2013 with an eighth-place finish in the US Grand Prix.
Having now spent a weekend working with double world champion Mika Hakkinen's protege up close, Smedley reckons Bottas is one of Williams' biggest assets.
"He's the real deal, there's no doubt about it," said Smedley.
"Last year he was a boy. He stepped out of a Formula 3 car and got into a Formula 1 car and pretty much blew his team-mate away, and to do that is wholly impressive [because] it's not always apparent how difficult these cars are to drive.
"It was always very clear that he was very, very quick. What I didn't know until recently is just how mature he is as well.
"If you listen to him talk it's like listening to someone with 10 years of experience. He's very calm in his approach, very precise, and knows exactly what he wants from the car.
"We're lucky to have him."
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