‘We got what we deserved’ – Zhou thrilled to see Alfa Romeo secure P6 at the end of ‘amazing’ rookie season
Zhou Guanyu expressed satisfaction over Alfa Romeo beating Aston Martin to sixth position in the 2022 constructors’ standings, with the result meaning the Chinese racer could end his rookie F1 season “on a high”.
While Zhou and team mate Valtteri Bottas finished outside the top 10 in last week’s Abu Dhabi season finale, both drivers made life as difficult as they could for Aston Martin rivals Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel, whose points-scoring efforts fell just short of what was required to overhaul Alfa Romeo.
Tied on points after 22 races, P6 went to Alfa Romeo thanks to Bottas’s fifth-place result at Imola earlier in the season, handing the team millions more dollars as they head into the winter and prepare for the 2023 campaign.
“We gave everything in that race. We achieved the target, which was to finish P6. I had to really sacrifice my strategy to hold Sebastian and Lance up, which we did a good job [of],” said Zhou, who finished a lapped 12th, three places ahead of Bottas.
Referencing an initially unseen last-lap pass on Alex Albon’s Williams after going wheel-to-wheel between Turns 5 to 9 at Yas Marina, he added: “It was an amazing fight, with the best overtake I think I did of the season, [but] I’m just happy that the team got what we deserved after such a long season.”
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Zhou went on to share some thoughts about his rookie season as a whole, which saw him score a point on his debut in Bahrain, add more to his tally in Canada and Italy, and bounce back from a terrifying first-lap crash in Britain.
“We started high [with a point] and it’s good to see we finished on a high as well [with P6 in the constructors’] – it’s great,” said Zhou, who ended up 18th in the drivers’ standings on six points, eight places and 43 points behind Bottas.
“Obviously, on paper, it’s not the best we hoped for with our unreliability, but I’m sure next year we will get it all fixed and we can have a much better season.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first season here, with all the fans supporting me, the team, and my team mate Valtteri – it’s been amazing.”
Zhou will continue alongside Bottas for a second season in 2023, with Alfa Romeo one of only four teams – alongside Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes – to keep the same driver line-up over the winter.