Happy Zhou 'didn't do too bad for a rookie'


Alfa Romeo rookie Guanyu Zhou had a spring in his step after qualifying at Silverstone where the Chinese driver achieved a career best P9 in the Saturday shootout.

While teammate Valtteri Bottas was stuck in a "downward spiral" during the tricky wet session that deprived him of a presence in Q3, Zhou made the most of the difficult conditions, successfully navigating his way through each segment in just his second wet qualifying in F1.

When all was said and done, the 23-year-old gave himself a well-deserved pat on the back for making the Q3 cut for the second race in succession.

"Qualifying was a challenge, but I would say I didn’t do too bad for a rookie!" he enthused.

"It was my first time driving in F1 in Silverstone in the wet, the conditions were very different from yesterday but today has been good, I felt like I was progressing and improving my time lap after lap.

"It was particularly tricky out there between Q2 and Q3, when it was getting damp and there was a lot of standing water, but I managed to keep the car on track and reckon I was able to maximize everything I had today, so I can consider myself satisfied of the job done.

"It feels amazing to score two back-to-back Q3 appearances, I feel like I’m growing as a Formula 1 driver and I am really happy about that."

Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur said after qualifying that his Chinese charger "was in a great position to bring home points" in Sunday's race. Zhou agreed.

"I am looking forward to tomorrow, the track conditions should be dry, and I think we have the opportunity to score some points, which is always our main target.

"We have good potential, the grid will be super close, but I reckon we are looking good and both cars will be able to challenge for points tomorrow."


On the other side of the Alfa garage, Bottas blamed his disappointing P12 performance on his inability to generate heat into his tyres for most of the session.

"It’s been a challenging day for me: conditions were tricky, changing all the time and it felt like every lap the track was a bit different," he said.

"Q1 was good, but, once I got into Q2, with more water on track, I struggled to get enough temperature in the tyres.

"That was a bit of a downward spiral – I was sliding around and the car kept snapping, which made me lose even more temperature.

"Still, we are in P12 and the points are not too far away: we expect a dry race tomorrow, and I am confident we can make some gains. Our car is quite strong in the races, so we can put up a bit of a fight."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter