Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

When Nico Rosberg announced his sudden retirement from the sport back in December 2016, F1 was taken aback. Had his intense rivalry with Lewis Hamilton gotten the best of him? Was it a cowardly move or a courageous decision? It didn’t matter anymore, because Mercedes soon had a new kid on the block. And although not a rookie - after all Valtteri Bottas had accumulated 77 Grand Prix starts at Williams before joining the Silver Arrows squad - he would have to prove himself worthy of his place in the British team, with time ticking on his one year contract.

It didn’t take long before the Fin out-qualified his triple World Champion teammate, securing his maiden pole position in round three of the season at the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix. And although tyre pressure issues hindered his chances of obtaining a podium finish in that race, Valtteri swooped his first career win two weeks later in a stunning performance at the Russian Grand Prix.