It was the first time that the Chinese Formula 1 driver got stuck in the first part of qualifying. On his last flying lap, Zhou Guanyu looked like he was improving, but at the same time a whole group of cars were busy gaining some distance on the last straight. The Alfa Romeo man had to drop anchor and was able to throw his lap in the trash. He immediately complained about the on-board radio. “I was in a good rhythm and the timing in my first run was excellent too. In the end I was on the edge of time in my second run, which surprised me. So I only had one flying lap but two would do it was better but on that one lap I was struggling with traffic so there wasn’t much I could do about it but hopefully we’ll learn from that,” he said after the session.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas crashed in the first free practice session on Friday and missed the entire second practice session. This meant that Zhou Guanyu was the only Alfa Romeo driver able to gather information on the race pace. The Chinese could draw a positive conclusion from this. “In the race I expect we will be stronger than in qualifying but it seems all the other F1 teams are doing well here. And then I mean, among other things, the top speed. It will be difficult to overtake.” However, there are still opportunities ahead,” Zhou continues. “It’s easy to make mistakes at this track, so we have to take every opportunity. We’ve got a good car, so we’re trying to get as far up the front as we can. We’ll do our best.”