Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu delivered his best Formula 1 qualifying performance yet on Saturday, securing the fifth position. However, his race got off to a slow start, resulting in him falling behind the pack. His troubles were compounded when he hit the back of Daniel Ricciardo’s AlphaTauri while braking at the first turn.
Zhou’s car suffered front wing damage from the collision, and he was also handed a five-second penalty by the race stewards. They concluded that he did not slow down adequately when he approached the corner, leading to an avoidable accident.
Finishing a lap down in the 16th position, Zhou mentioned that Alfa Romeo would investigate the issues with his start.
“I really don’t know, I need to examine it,” Zhou said when questioned about the problematic start. “I maintained the revs until the four lights, and then I lost all throttle response. So, essentially, I started with zero throttle.
“Quite disappointed, as the start could have been quite promising.”
He later stated: “We need a more detailed examination of what occurred, because this is unusual, it hasn’t happened before. I attempted to regain control before the five lights, tried to apply full throttle, but nothing worked. Hence, I had to perform a pull-away.
“My start was more of a pull-away, not a real start. That’s why you saw my car stationary.”
In response to F1 Flow.com’s query about his first turn incident, Zhou said: “I braked as late as possible to regain some positions. But unfortunately, due to the disturbed air from the leading cars, I locked up.
“This is not what I intended, but after crossing the line, my race was essentially finished.”
Zhou’s start problem also caused a setback for his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who had to swerve around him and fell from the seventh to the twelfth place. Bottas could not overtake Alex Albon’s Williams car in the last stretch and finished at the same place he had dropped to.
Despite an early pit stop to try and regain lost ground, Bottas remained behind Albon and was unable to overtake, even with DRS.
“Being stuck behind Albon, I was losing about half a second per lap,” Bottas stated. “Unfortunately, this delay cost us a lot, making it hard to challenge and fight with Stroll towards the end. It’s always difficult to pass a Williams car.”
Both Zhou and Bottas were puzzled by Alfa Romeo’s disappointing race performance, despite a strong qualifying round at a track that was supposed to be one of Alfa’s strongest this year.
Bottas remarked, “For a single lap, the car performs well on this track. But once the tyres begin to wear out during the race, we start to slide more. I can’t figure out why.”
Zhou echoed Bottas’s sentiments, noting that “our single lap speed was more competitive than our racecraft”.
When F1 Flow.com asked Zhou where the car had fallen short on Sunday, he simply replied, “Overall grip was the issue”.
This article was also contributed to by Adam Copper and Matt Kew.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Zhou Guanyu Hungarian GP
What was Zhou Guanyu’s initial position at the Hungarian Grand Prix?
Zhou Guanyu managed to secure the fifth position in the initial line-up of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
What happened at the start of Zhou Guanyu’s race?
Zhou Guanyu had a start issue that caused him to lose throttle response, resulting in a slow start and subsequent collision with Daniel Ricciardo’s AlphaTauri.
What was the consequence of Zhou’s collision with Ricciardo’s car?
The collision inadvertently led Ricciardo to push Esteban Ocon into Pierre Gasly, resulting in both Alpine cars being eliminated from the race. Zhou also incurred front wing damage and a five-second penalty from the race stewards.
What did Zhou say about the start issue?
Zhou expressed confusion and disappointment about the start issue, and indicated that Alfa Romeo would investigate the problem in detail.
How did Zhou’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, perform in the race?
Valtteri Bottas was indirectly affected by Zhou’s start issue, dropping from seventh to twelfth place. Despite an early pit stop, Bottas was unable to pass Alex Albon’s Williams and finished in the twelfth position.
What was the general feeling about Alfa Romeo’s performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix?
Both Zhou and Bottas were puzzled by Alfa Romeo’s disappointing performance at the race, despite a strong showing in the qualifying round. They attributed the issues mainly to tyre wear during the race and general grip problems.