Penalised four times for speeding in the pit lane during Saturday’s practice in Monaco, Zhou Guanyu has put it down to a “misunderstanding” with his Alfa Romeo pit wall.
Alfa Romeo were hit with an €800 fine on Saturday when Zhou was caught speeding in the pit lane in FP3, the driver exceeding the limit not once but four times.
Clocked at 63.0 km/h, 62.5 m/h, 61.0 km/h and 60.2 km/h, the Chinese driver initially incurred two €200 fines and followed those up with another two at €100.
“Car 24 exceeded the pit lane speed limit which is set at 60 km/h,” read the stewards’ notes.
Zhou says it was a “misunderstanding” with his race engineer Joern Becker.
“After the first or second one, I think I had a misunderstanding with the team radio,” Zhou said as per RaceFans.net.
“I thought they told me to release the pit limiter earlier. But rather than that I think was the opposite way round. So that’s where I went wrong.”
Zhou will line up 19th on the grid after a “tricky” qualifying
“Our performance in FP3 had made me confident in a place in Q2, and I believed with a small improvement we could even get to Q3,” he said. “However, it turned out to be a tricky afternoon.
“The good feeling I had in the first run of Q1 disappeared and, as the track improved, I couldn’t find any extra grip. I was sliding around too much and, although I improved in my final run, this wasn’t enough in such a competitive field.
“Starting from the back will make our job very difficult, but we owe it to the work of everyone in the team, and to our fans, to go out there and give everything in the race.”
His team-mate Valtteri Bottas is 15th with the Finn saying he “found traffic in the final sector on my last run and that cost us dearly. I lost a couple of tenths, probably, and this was enough to knock us out and put us 15th.”