Zhou Guanyu scored a hard-fought 10th place finished and one point at last week’s Italian GP, and was delighted with the result after he had a difficult run of races prior to Monza, with his last points finish before Monza dating all the way back to June, at the Canadian GP.
Speaking to MotorLAT and selected media after the race in Monza, Zhou explained how he was fighting Williams’ Nyck de Vries strong straight-line speed the whole race, and how he was compromised by an ill-timed blue flag to let race leader Max Verstappen through:
“There was only one lap where I was not in the slipstream, but then [Max] Verstappen was coming with blue flags, then I lost DRS again. I think it would always be difficult, but if there were more laps to go, maybe I had a bit more on the tyre, because the tyre was still fine.
“Overall, we knew Williams was going to be hard to pass, because they were fastest on the straights.
“I think Nyck [de Vries] was holding up a bit more than what he should do. I didn’t want to destroy [Verstappen’s] race because of my race. And unfortunately, he caught me up just on the straight so I had to let him pass before the braking zone, which was the right thing to do.
“I think it was just the timing, where they catch you or not. Of course, when I lost the DRS was a bit more tough, but still we had very similar pace or stronger as a whole,” he said.
Zhou praised the “amazing job” de Vries did over the weekend in Monza, admitting he wasn’t able to force the Dutchman into a mistake:
“From my side, of course, I tried to get past him on the straight, and basically force him into a mistake. I think he did an amazing job for his debut, to score points, so congrats for his performance over the weekend.”
Whilst disappointed to not score more points, Zhou said he had “a good race” in terms of pace, mentioning he could even keep pace with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso for some time, and says he’ll “take the positives” from the Monza weekend for the next few rounds of the championship:
“I feel like, from my side, it was a tough race, but we always kept close behind other cars, even with [Fernando] Alonso, so it was a good race.
“We take the positives from this weekend, because I feel like it’s been a good weekend. I think we were lacking some pace the last few races, so I was happy to back on form from the beginning, the FP’s I was quite strong all the way, and then scoring and finishing where we deserve is good,” Zhou concluded.
Family day at the factory. ❤️— Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN (@alfaromeoorlen) September 17, 2022
Great to have the chance to spend a day with everyone working so hard to get us racing. pic.twitter.com/ZhbsSPo8Xn