Valtteri Bottas says Zhou Guanyu deserved his Alfa Romeo contract extension, explaining what he brings to the table.
Alfa Romeo brought Zhou into the team for 2022 off the back of a strong season in Formula 2, where he took four race wins in the 2021 campaign.
And with his arrival in Formula 1, it meant that Zhou became China’s first full-time driver in the series.
There were early struggles to match the performance levels of team-mate and 10-time race winner Bottas, but Zhou has made clear progress as the season has gone on, taking Alfa Romeo back into the points with a P10 finish at his most recent outing at Monza.
And Zhou has done enough to convince Alfa Romeo that deserves another season, the Hinwil outfit announcing that his services will be retained for 2023 ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
This is news that has gone down very well with Bottas, who is in no doubt that Zhou deserves to be with Alfa Romeo in Formula 1, explaining why.
Speaking to reporters about Zhou’s contract extension ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, Bottas said: “I think it’s good news, because following him alongside as a team-mate, I really can say that he deserves the spot in the team and in Formula 1.
“He’s really mature for his age and experience and he’s been learning a lot throughout the year and his pace has been increasing in qualifying and race throughout the year, and he’s done very few mistakes.
“So, I think it’s good news. And I’m sure he keeps evolving and keeps improving in the future.”
Asked what has impressed him the most about Zhou, Bottas replied: “How few mistakes he’s done.
“Because it’s not easy to jump into F1 and for sure he’s got lots of outside pressure as well, being the first Chinese driver and everything, but he’s dealt with everything in a really good way.”
Zhou revealed that he knew before the Monza race that he had a new contract in the bag, something which makes him “a lot more relaxed”.
It bodes well for his future then considering the display which Zhou produced on race day at the Italian Grand Prix.
Asked in the media pen how good it felt to have known he had that contract extension, then take Alfa Romeo back into the points, Zhou replied: “Yeah, it’s kind of coming all together let’s say.
“Because yeah, just before Monza I get the confirmation from the team, and then Monza was so important for the team and for me, it’s very happy just to be back in the points because it’s been such a long time.
“Even though we have maybe it’s engine penalties, could be better, but it’s very similar for everyone else, but we’ve been a little bit just off, so happy to get a reward back for the team here, also in the factory.
“And yeah, continuing with Alfa for next year is even more exciting because to get a confirmation now, I feel a lot more relaxed, and that there’s no lot of pressure in that side, it’s more just the pressure to do well, so hopefully keep working and bringing out from Monza continuously.”