The 20-year journey that reduced Zhou to tears

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Zhou Guanyu have expressed his thoughts on an emotionally-charged Chinese Grand Prix he says was the culmination of a “20 year” journey.

The Stake F1 driver shared feelings of gratitude and pride after finishing ninth in the sprint – narrowly missing out on his first point of the season – and P14 in the main race.

The 24-year-old explained how he tried to keep a low profile, in order to focus on the job at hand – a seemingly difficult task give the level of support show towards him at the Shanghai International Circuit. After the race, he could be seen taking in the moment in front of hoards of adoring fans.

“I tried to stay low-key, I tried to stay away from everything, but once you take your helmet off and feel everybody shouting your name, it’s just so emotional, he told media including RacingNews365.

“This journey is 20 years; it just reflects so quickly on your mind but I’m just grateful to be here.”

‘I’m just so, so grateful’

The Chinese driver reiterated how tough he found his home race, but emphasised how much the adulation meant to him.

After a slow start to the campaign for Stake, the weekend in Shanghai was a step forward for the team, with a strong showing from Zhou in both sprint qualifying and the sprint itself. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas also enjoyed a strong weekend, getting into Q3 of both qualifying sessions.

“It’s really difficult, you try to focus on what’s going on, on your job, on your driving but then having them [the fans] always screaming, shouting and also cheering for you – I’m just so, so grateful,” said Zhou.

“And on the other hand, on my side – first time coming here, I never drove this track before, I gave it my all this weekend. It’s a shame about yesterday’s quali[fying], but then it probably put us in a better position, fighting for something more today.

“But yeah, proud of SQ3, the sprint race, and then to finish the race in a positive way.”

			© XPBimages


© XPBimages

‘The car definitely looks better’

After completing his grand prix 49 since making his debut at the start of the 2022 season, Zhou turned his focus to race number 50, where he hopes the form Stake showed in China would carry over.

“Yeah, the car feels a lot more competitive, if you look over one lap. Not just on the mediums, also on the softs. Where I would be without that mistake [in qualifying], I would probably be P12 on my Q1 lap,” he mused.

“The car definitely looks better – even though we didn’t really bring much more new [developments], and then a lot of people, like Alpine, they brought a massive upgrade.

“So, looking forward to what’s next, because I guess Miami, the track surface is a little bit similar to here [China], a bit low grip, so hopefully we can have a similar performance.”



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