How did you first get involved with Oris?

Oris has been a team partner with Williams for 14 years, so it’s a long-term partnership. I first came into contact with the brand when I started as a test driver for the Williams team in 2010. Now that I am in my fourth season as a racing driver, I would say I have really discovered Oris by myself.

How does the collaboration work with Oris?

We have a lot of races, obviously, and this is a great opportunity for the people from Oris and their guests to come to the Grand Prix. Sometimes I might meet them at a Formula One track, and other times we might do some events together in different locations, and sometimes we launch a new watch. This is the first time I have visited the Oris factory and it has been very interesting to see.

What do you like about Oris personally?

Well I’ve always been a big watch fan myself and I’ve always worn a watch. I have always liked nice watches so I’m really happy that Oris is with our team! I like how sporty they are, especially the watch they made for me (Oris Williams Valtteri Bottas Limited Edition), and the Oris Williams Collection. My watch is made with carbon fiber, it’s quite light and is made of the same material they use in Formula One cars.

Do you wear a watch for practical reasons or more as an accessory?

Both really. I like the feeling of having a watch, and of course it’s easier to look at the time from the wrist than checking your phone all the time. And if I don’t wear a watch, it just feels weird, like I’m naked.

I’ve never worn a watch while driving a racecar. But I think it’s a great match—Oris and Formula One makes perfect sense because everything about Formula One is about time and timekeeping, like the lap times and the pit stops; everything is timed in this world so I think it’s very cool.

When you’re racing do you know instinctively how fast you’re going? Do you know when you’ve done a really fast lap or when you’re behind?

You know if a lap is going to be good or not, if a corner goes perfectly, or alternatively, if you make a small mistake, you are going to know already by the finish line. You know the funny thing is just how quickly the time goes when you are so focused on the racing—the distance of a Grand Prix race is 300km, but it goes so quickly when you are focused.

What’s a regular week look like for you in terms of your agenda?

Every week is always a bit different. For sure there are different kinds of events and media, and a lot of travelling. We have 21 races, plus some testing, and I also go to visit the Williams factory in England, but it is mostly travelling and events. When we are racing, Thursdays is media day at the track, then Friday I practice, Saturday is the qualifiers and Sunday is racing. It goes by quickly.

How do you stay in shape with that busy agenda?

It’s a lot of travelling, lots of jet lag. For sure the driving is already very good physical training, but I like sports and I’m a very big sports fan and I always like running, cycling, working out at the gym etc. We are also very lucky at Williams to have our own chef so we can order all the food we really need to stay fit and it’s all really good.

Apart from the time, do you see any other connections between watchmaking and racing?

It’s all about the details in Formula One—to have a good race, to build a good car; there are so many details to focus on. It’s the same with driving—it’s all about the details. Many drivers in the world can drive a lap in 5 seconds, but when you get down to the hundreds of a second, and the thousandths of a second, then you get into the really fine details. I tried to make a watch today, and I realized that it is also all about the details, and the small things that really count. It was really interesting.

What are your challenges or personal goals for this year?

So this year, as a team, we’ve been battling for the last few races for 4th position for the team’s championship. As a driver, I think I’m in 7th place at the moment, so for us we’re now 5th, just a little bit behind 4th place. To aim for 4th as a team is still realistic for us and we’re really working hard and pushing hard for that. If we can secure that 4th position then that’s the target as a team and for me personally, you know I’m always trying to get the most out of every single race. I don’t normally set position targets for the race because you never know what’s going to happen. I always go into the race to try and win it and try to make the absolute most out of it, and live day-by-day, race-by-race and always try to improve myself. I feel like I still have everything ahead of me to achieve all my Formula One goals, so I just need to remain patient, keep learning and keep getting better.

What advice would you give to a young boy who wants to do what you do?

I would say that no dream is too big—when I was young and I started go-karting, around five or six years old, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a Formula One driver and a champion one day. So many people told me “Yeah right, you’re completely out of your mind”, but I always saw opportunity. For me there were these 22 drivers in Formula One and some said “There are only 22 drivers so it’s nearly impossible to get there” but I always thought, you know, they are there, so I could be there too. So I would say just keep believing and working hard and if you can dream it, then you can do it.

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