Valtteri Bottas praises teammate Zhou Guanyu ahead of Chinese driver’s second year
Valtteri Bottas backed his Alfa Romeo teammate Zhou Guanyu to shine in his second F1 season this year.
Zhou Guanyu became the first Chinese driver in F1 when he made the jump from F2 in 2022 to take the place of Antonio Giovinazzi. He was partnered with experienced Valtteri Bottas, who left Mercedes after five years to fill the seat vacated by retired former world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
The Finn took on the role of mentor as the duo worked well in tandem to lift Alfa Romeo to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship standings in 2022. While Bottas did most of the heavy lifting in the points department, his team-mate has finished in the points on three occasions, including his debut in Bahrain last year.
Zhou Guanyu was also involved in a fatal crash at Silverstone, but was able to walk away from the incident unscathed.
As the season opener approaches in Sakhir later this week, Valtteri Bottas believes Zhou Guanyo has grown and evolved as a driver. In an interview with Total Motorsport he said:
“It’s nice to see that his development curve has been quite steep since the start of last year. He’s become almost like a different driver in a way. (He’s become) a lot more confident in his riding , his returns, his runs and his qualifying, so he had a good rookie season overall.
“He made very few mistakes and also got points. He will definitely get a lot more points this year, and he will definitely be a good teammate to fight with.”
However, the pair’s main goal is to work as a team and see if they can find some more improved performance with the Alfa Romeo C43 this time around.
The 33-year-old added:
“But the main thing is that we can work well together like last year. So I’m looking forward to it. I think he’s proven throughout last year that he belongs in F1. , and obviously this year is another test.” for the driver. (But) I have no worries, (he) will be fine.”
Valtteri Bottas eyes podium return with Alfa Romeo in 2023
Valtteri Bottas is keen to return to the F1 podium for his second season with Alfa Romeo.
The Finnish driver had a successful stint at Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton before joining Sauber last season. While it enjoyed a string of positive results early in the season, culminating in a P5 finish at Imola, the team’s performance plummeted as the campaign continued.
Now in his second year with the Zurich-based team, Valtteri Bottas hopes to improve his performance and that of the team in 2023.
Speaking to Reuters at the launch of the Alfa Romeo C43, the 33-year-old said:
“The objective for this season is to finish higher than last year and to be much more consistent. Last year we had too many ups and downs. Also, secretly, I always dream of finishing on the podium, so let’s see.”
Bottas hasn’t been on the podium since the 2021 F1 Saudi Arabia GP when he drove for Mercedes. It would be no small feat if he found his way back to Alfa Romeo this year.
Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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