Zhou Guanyu “so grateful” for home support at F1 Chinese GP as he reflects on “difficult race”

Photo Credit: Sauber
Spread the love

This past weekend, at the Shanghai International Circuit, Zhou Guanyu felt a lot of love.

The Shanghai native had the opportunity to race on his home circuit for the first time ever in Formula One as the Chinese Grand Prix returned to the circuit for the first time in five years.

It was a very emotional weekend for Zhou, as he had a special spot reserved for him right on the start/finish straight post-race following his P14 finish.

Once he got out of his car, the Sauber driver was met with the same thing he received the entire weekend: massive rounds of applause and a lot of cheering.

After the race, Guanyu took the time to reflect on what this race meant to him. As he previously mentioned, he attended the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix as a five-year old.

Returning to race alongside the man who won that edition, Fernando Alonso, was a momentous occasion for him. The Spaniard was the Chinese driver’s idol, too.

“Yeah, nothing much I can say. I’ve been so grateful to have so many fans the whole weekend.

“I tried to stay low-key, I tried to stay away from everything, but then once you take your helmet off and everybody’s shouting your name, it’s so emotional.

“This journey, these 20 years, just to reflect so quickly in your mind, but just grateful to be here.”

Guanyu knew how much it meant to him, and he tried to keep it out of his head as he looked to focus on the job at hand.

“It’s really difficult, you try a lot to focus on what’s going on, just on your job, on your driving. But then having them [the fans] always screaming, shouting and also cheering for you, I’m just so grateful.”

Although it is his home race, it was his first time driving the Shanghai International Circuit as the pandemic kept the sport away from China until this year, Guanyu’s third campaign in the sport.

He had the high of making SQ3 and finishing 10th in the Sprint following a strong performance.

“On my side, it’s the first time coming here. I never drove this track before. I gave it my all this weekend.

“A shame about yesterday in quali, it would have probably put us in a better position to possibly fight for something more today.

“But I’m proud of [making] SQ3, the Sprint race. And then finishing the race in a positive way, I think eyes forward for the future.”

The Sprint part of the weekend was as good as it got. He was knocked out in Q1 for the Grand Prix and was towards the back throughout Sunday’s race.

He made a couple of overtakes late in the race on Sargeant and Magnussen to big roars of approval. But he could only manage P14 at the end.

“On the softs, it was quite a tricky stint because I knew if I keep my position without the pit stop, I probably would have been there anyway.

“But then we decided to give it a gamble and tried something else. I guess it’s great for me also just need to try understand a bit more the track, the overtaking spot.

“Difficult race because the degradation was very high, but I’m happy with what we’ve done the whole race. I think we extracted everything.”