Zhou Guanyu showed impressive skill to avoid a third DNF in succession at the Monaco Grand Prix – but admitted he had been scared in a hilarious radio message to his team
Image: Sky Sports F1)
The rookie suffered a scary moment as he attempted an overtake on Yuki Tsunoda which saw him lose traction on a wet part of the track. He had been stuck behind his fellow Asian racer for a long time, unable to overtake on a narrow track, and so launched a daring move just before the Nouvelle Chicane.
He had hoped to move up the inside and get his nose in front before the first part of the chicane, but instead lost traction and looked for a split second as though his car was destined to meet the barriers. Remarkably, Zhou showed his ability and reaction speed to wrestle back control and save the car from spinning.
The Chinese racer was able to see the funny side as he told his team that he had given the overtake his best shot over the radio. “I need new pants after that one,” he told his race engineer – clearly just relieved that he had not hit a barrier at high speed and was able to continue.
Despite his best efforts, Zhou was unable to get past Tsunoda for the rest of the race at a venue where overtaking is extremely difficult. He had fought from the back of the grid to move as high as 13th, but was 16th after the red flag caused by a huge Mick Schumacher crash and that was where he finished.
After the race, he said of the attempted overtake: “It was very damp on the inside, and there’s not much slipstream you can gain. That was probably one of the closest laps behind Yuki, so I really had to dive up the inside at the last minute. Unfortunately he tried to cover a little bit, and at that moment, I tried to avoid that and hit the wet patch. That was just about keeping the car on-track there.”
Sky Sports F1)
Zhou has showed plenty of promise in his first few races as a Formula 1 driver, but has also suffered from his fair share of bad luck. He scored his first point on debut in Bahrain, but only narrowly missed out on more top 10 finishes in his next two outings.
A mechanical issue meant that he could complete only six laps of the Miami Grand Prix before being forced to retire, while more car issues in Spain also meant he could not finish the race. As had been the case in Florida, the problem which proved fatal to his chances of more points was unexpected.
Despite extending his pointless run to six races, Zhou is keen to learn from his first experience of racing at Monaco in a Formula 1 car. “It was a tough one, I think one of the toughest, but we experienced all different conditions,” he added. “I guess normal race tracks in the wet will be a little bit better now after experiencing Monaco.”