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Bottas has 'champion gene' - Symonds

ESPN Staff
February 10, 2015 « Button wants to right wrongs of '07 and '08 with Honda | Mercedes hopes for Hamilton deal by Melbourne »
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Williams technical chief Pat Symonds says Valtteri Bottas has the "champion gene" he saw in Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

Bottas was one of the stand out performers of 2015, claiming six podiums and finishing fourth in the drivers' championship. Team owner Sir Frank Williams has previously tipped him a future world champion and Symonds, who previously worked with multiple champions in Senna, Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, can see there is weight behind the prediction.

"What I've seen in the great drivers I have worked with I also see in Valtteri," Symonds told the F1 website. "He regards it almost as a right to be champion. There are other traits in the so-called 'champion gene' - like attention to detail and work ethic. These things don't come easily. In Valtteri I see all these things that I saw in the others over the last 30 odd years. So I have all the hopes that he will be a champion."

Symonds went on to clarify what he meant by "champion gene".

"Actually there are several factors: not just the desire to win - everyone here has that desire to win - but some of them have that burning passion, the absolute belief that they can do it. I think that right now there are drivers out there who are damned fast, but they doubt themselves at times - and the minute a sportsman doubts himself he is already defeated."

Though team-mate Felipe Massa had a more inconsistent season last year Symonds thinks the Brazilian is showing glimpses of his old self - before his near-fatal Hungary crash in 2009 - since joining Williams.

"With Felipe it is much more interesting assessing him. A lot of people know that Felipe was capable of winning a championship, because he very nearly did in 2008. After an accident in Hungary a lot of people thought 'well, okay Felipe, what a shame'.

"What we found at Williams is that we have awakened him - and it is not beyond possibility that if we build a good enough car, then Felipe can also win. In the latter part of the 2014 season he was a revelation. It was a Felipe that we haven't seen in years."

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