Bottas: F1's real Flying Finn
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Bottas: F1's real Flying Finn

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Finnish Formula 1 fans have had one hero since 2001, but there's a new kid on the block. BEN ANDERSON examines why Williams hotshot Valtteri Bottas is usurping the Iceman Kimi Raikkonen

For anyone following Formula 1 over the past decade, Kimi Raikkonen has been the biggest game in town as far as Finnish drivers are concerned. Mika Hakkinen passed the baton on, and Heikki Kovalainen tried his best to snatch it away, but - almost in spite of himself - Raikkonen has remained etched in the consciousness of single-seater fandom as the Finnish superstar.

His particular brand of searing speed, monosyllabic speech and wild off-track partying has imbued him with a unique anti-hero status in F1 folklore. In this age of clean-cut corporate sensitivities, it's probably no surprise that anyone even remotely professing to be the natural heir to James Hunt should prove so enduringly popular with F1 fans. But that aura requires sustenance; it can only remain alive for so long in the absence of on-track derring-do.

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