Zhou feels confident after Japanese GP practice

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 8, 2022
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Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu feels confident after managing mid-table places in two practice sessions at the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday.

"I am happy with the performance," the F1 rookie said. "Overall, everything looks promising. It is tough but I like the track. I like high speed. The track has all that."

The 23-year-old Alfa Romeo driver was 11th in one minute and 44.429 seconds in the first practice, 2.181 seconds behind leader Fernando Alonso of Alpine. He rose to 10th in FP2 by lapping in 1:44.525.

Mercedes' George Russell clocked the fastest lap of one minute 41.935 seconds in the second practice, with his teammate and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finishing second with 0.235 seconds behind.

Red Bull leader Max Verstappen, who would retain his world champion on Sunday should he win the race with the fastest lap, was third, 0.851 seconds behind Russell. The Dutchman was sixth in the first practice.

Both sessions were run in wet conditions. Zhou said the track was very "slippery."

"There are a lot of rivers across the track," he said. "It made it very difficult on Friday but the car performed very well."

The Swiss team chose not to equip both cars with the new wing and started the day with the old wing.

"We saved it for tomorrow because of the condition," Zhou said. "We don't want to risk anything today. I guess the upgrade will move us forward."

Zhou, China's first full-time F1 driver, was handed a fresh deal by Alfa Romeo last week that will keep him on the team for 2023, alongside Valtteri Bottas. He has scored six points and was 18th on the drivers' standings.

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