Formula 1

Zhou Guanyu: “The drive-through put us far at the back and that was it”

2 Mins read
Credit: Antonin Vincent / DPPI

Zhou Guanyu believes he was on course for a second consecutive top ten finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday, but the Chinese driver was denied after he was twice penalised during the race that left him frustratingly outside the points in eleventh.

Zhou was initially handed a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage as he battled Williams Racing’s Alexander Albon, which he served during his pit stop.

However, one of Zhou’s Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN mechanics touched the car during that five second period, resulting in an additional drive-through penalty for the driver, putting him down the order and just out of contention for the top ten despite showing good pace throughout the race.

“I want to think this was a good experience in terms of getting more confidence with street circuits in Formula 1,” said Zhou.  “It was useful, but overall the race was definitely far from ideal: we had the anti-stall kicking in at turn one, even though I had a much better start than in Bahrain, so we will need to understand what happened.

“I had made a good recovery from P18 and we were looking strong to bring home some points again, but the drive-through put us far at the back and that was it.

“Let’s hope for a smoother race in Australia, the car feels good so we can be competitive again.”

“We had to pull the car out as we didn’t want to lose the engine” – Valtteri Bottas

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was an unfortunate retiree from the race, with the Finn on course to score a top six finish before an issue with his engine caused him to call it a day.

The former Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver said it was important not to lose the engine completely, so to bring the car into the pits to retire so the team could investigate and put a fix in place was vital.

Despite his retirement, Bottas was pleased with the performance of the C42-Ferrari in Saudi Arabia, with the Finn believing the team had made progress with the car from what they had just seven days earlier in Bahrain.

“It’s a pity to retire from what had been a really good race until that moment, especially as we were looking good for P6 at least,” said Bottas.  “The engine temperatures kept rising, we need to investigate what caused that, but we had to pull the car out as we didn’t want to lose the engine.

“It’s how racing goes, we now need to make sure we solve whatever issue it was and move on.

“Looking at the positives, the car is really good. We made another step forward from the previous race, even in the starts. We were doing a good job and enjoying some close battles: now let’s make sure we get back to scoring in Australia.”

Valtteri Bottas was on course for points before retiring in Saudi Arabia – Credit: Antonin Vincent / DPPI
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