Zhou Guanyu believed he was in contention for a possible top ten finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in the early stages, but the safety car intervention and being stuck in a DRS train put paid to his chances.
The Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake driver ended his day in thirteenth having been able to make progress once stuck behind other cars post safety car, with the points paying positions falling out of reach as a result.
“We looked strong in the first stint, our pace was good and it seemed the top ten was within reach,” said Zhou. “Of course, track position always makes the difference on street circuits like this one, and, unfortunately, I got stuck in a DRS train once the Safety Car came out.
“My race was compromised from that moment onwards, and there wasn’t much more we could do.”
Zhou believes there is a lot more to come from Alfa Romeo in the upcoming races, and he hopes to break into the top ten for the first time in the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season next time out in Australia.
“Today just hasn’t been our day, but I think we can achieve much more as a team going forward,” Zhou added. “We get a new chance in a few weeks in Melbourne, where we will be bringing some upgrades to our car: hopefully they’ll allow us to make the step forward we need to continue fighting for points.
“We’re have shown we can do it and that we can fight towards the front, and I am confident we can achieve that again in Australia.”
“I believe our car is much better than what we’ve shown” – Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas had a below par day at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit as a result of taking damage from debris early on, the Finn ending eighteenth and last of those who saw the chequered flag.
Bottas hit debris on the opening lap and was hampered with a poor handling car throughout, and even a switch to the soft tyre for the closing laps couldn’t prevent him from ending the day at the back of the field.
“Our qualifying performance yesterday was similar to the one we had in Bahrain, so we had good hopes for tonight, but unfortunately the race was a very different affair,” said Bottas. “The car didn’t feel right, we couldn’t get any grip from the beginning of the race and we need to figure out exactly what happened.
“I ran over a large piece of debris on lap one, so perhaps I was carrying some damage to the floor: we’ll look at the car and at the data and understand more to prepare for Melbourne.
“I believe our car is much better than what we’ve shown tonight: Zhou had a much better pace, so I don’t think this weekend was very representative, and I am confident we can be back fighting for points in Australia.”