Zhou: 'Risky' first stint on hard tyres in Austria a mistake


Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu admitted after last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix that starting his race on the hard tyre was not only a risky choice but also one that was misguided.

The Chinese charger started his race from P13 on the grid and ran as high as seventh in the first half of the event.

But excessive degradation on the hards - a tyre also chosen by Yuki Tsunoda, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso - ultimately compromised his afternoon at the Red Bull Ring.

Given a chance to do it all over again, Zhou would have opted for the medium compound tyre.

"It wasn't the best weekend, but in the race I think the problem was just the hard tyres, we just couldn't switch them on," said the F1 rookie.

"For me, it was all degradation, and not getting any reward from it.

"If I was to go back, I would go back to the medium tyres, because the mediums we had on for 20 or 30 laps, [and] I felt we found the pace again we had yesterday [in Saturday's sprint race].

"So it just shows maybe our set-up wasn't the best for the hard for today. So that compromised the race.

"We went for the risky one, going for the hard compound for the start and not having much grip and losing out, and then struggling for top speed when we were in the DRS train, compared to the AlphaTauri.

"They just passed us so easy on the end of the braking, so that's why we were just stuck behind them in a train.

"A bit frustrating, but I guess that's how it is. But looking at the positives, I think we managed to find some speed in the race."

Zhou was unfortunately among those who were sanctioned with a five-second penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits. Overall, a total of 43 track limit violations were noted by the stewards on race day.

While he acknowledged his transgressions, he also felt that none of them had helped him gain time on his rivals.

"To be honest, I knew I was off a couple of times," he commented. "But some of the penalties I was actually quite surprised about, because I was behind Yuki [Tsunoda] and he was picking them up as well.

"I feel like very often when I went over the track limits I was probably slower. In those scenarios, I actually went off and lifted off.

"That's not ideal in this case. With the newer, bigger wheels the visibility is much lower than before, so it makes it difficult, but it's the same for everyone."

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