Thursday, April 18, 2024

Zhou Guanyu after Lap one Dramas in Hungary: “Today has been very disappointing”

After playing a starring role in Qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Zhou Guanyu’s race unravelled as soon as the lights went out at the Hungaroring, with an issue with his car meant he dropped down the field like a stone.

The Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake driver did not get off the line at all well, with an issue with his braking system causing his throttle to fail, but his race was to get even worse at turn one.

Now part of the mid-pack, Zhou left his braking too late and clipped the rear of Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian then pushing the two BWT Alpine F1 Team drivers into a collision.  Zhou was deemed responsible for the clash, with the stewards handing him a five-second time penalty.

Zhou knew that his chances of points disappeared as soon as the issue with his car started, and he is keen for the team to investigate why it happened, so it does not reoccur again in the future.

“The elation from yesterday’s result turned on its head, and there is no denying today has been very disappointing,” said Zhou.  “We are yet to gather all the information about what exactly went on at the start: I was on full throttle, and then all of a sudden, something went wrong and I had to do the entire procedure again just in order to do a proper start.

“We will be investigating this right away, to avoid repetitions in the future. Having said that, our race was pretty much over after this moment: we were at the back of the grid, with not many chances to climb back.”

Zhou can still take some positives away from his weekend, with his Qualifying display on Saturday the definite highlight.  He says the car has felt a lot better since Alfa Romeo introduced updates, and he believes there is still potential to unlock from it.

“As a positive to take away from this weekend, it felt good to execute such a solid qualifying performance yesterday, with both cars in Q3, as a confirmation that the upgrades we brought in Silverstone are moving us in the right direction, and there is further potential to unlock,” he added.

“Hopefully, moving forward, we’ll be more competitive throughout the whole weekend. We’ll carry this momentum onto Spa, aiming to quickly bounce back and build up on the momentum we had on Saturday.”

“Our pace was not quite as good as yesterday” – Valtteri Bottas

Having qualified directly behind Zhou, team-mate Valtteri Bottas was forced to take avoiding action around him at the start, and the delay meant that he slipped down the order.

Bottas ended the day outside the points in twelfth, the Finn finishing on the tail of Alexander Albon, but the straight-line speed advantage of the Williams Racing driver meant he was unable to find a way to pass the Thai driver.

The ten-time race winner admitted that the race pace on Sunday was not as good as the Qualifying pace had been on Saturday, but Bottas was pleased that Alfa Romeo were able to unlock some potential from the car following recent updates at Silverstone.

“We had a good chance to turn a strong qualifying into points but, unfortunately, our race got compromised on lap one, just after the start,” Bottas said.  “Zhou, who was in front of me, had some issues with the brake system strategy, so I had to move around him, losing some momentum.

“On top of that, all the cars starting on soft tyres passed us quickly. Overall, our pace was not quite as good as yesterday, and it didn’t really allow us to climb back through the field.

“There’s a positive we will take with us onto Belgium, we unlocked something more from our package on Saturday, so definitely the potential was there and we will aim to build on that.

“Of course, Spa will be a completely different track, but we will be working hard this week to find the right configuration to further progress and kick back right away.”

Valtteri Bottas finished down in twelfth in Hungary – Credit: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake