Zhou: Heading Alpine F2 battle "definitely a good feeling"

Guanyu Zhou says it was “a good feeling” to not only leave Bahrain as the Formula 2 Championship leader but head a fierce battle among the Alpine Academy drivers.

Zhou: Heading Alpine F2 battle "definitely a good feeling"

The third-year UNI Virtuosi F2 driver produced an impressive weekend display highlighted by pole position on Friday, followed by a faultless drive to victory in Sunday's feature race.

Zhou was also denied victory in race two after slipping to third on the final lap behind academy rivals Oscar Piastri and Christian Lundgaard, having struggled on worn tyres compared to his counterparts who gambled for fresh rubber.

Race two, however, underlined the hotly-contested battle amongst the Alpine Academy drivers vying to force their way into the Anglo-French squad's F1 future plans.

The academy's trio showcased their star potential throughout the weekend with Zhou pipping Lundgaard to pole by three thousandth of a second.

F2 rookie Piastri also turned heads qualifying and racing strongly to fifth in race one, before passing Zhou on the final lap to record a stunning debut win in race two.

Read Also:

Given the performances of his academy rivals, Zhou admitted it was a "good feeling" to come out on top after the first weekend of the season.

Race winner Guanyu Zhou, Uni-Virtuosi Racing celebrates in Parc Ferme

Race winner Guanyu Zhou, Uni-Virtuosi Racing celebrates in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"We are here fighting for our own championship, we race hard but fair, but obviously coming out on top is definitely a good feeling," said Zhou, when asked by Autosport if it was important to get a win on the board after Piastri's triumph.

"Obviously yesterday (Saturday) was a shame, I was gutted that I couldn't keep the lead on the last lap, but we made up for it today (Sunday) and that is the most important thing. It's going to be a long year so I will keep pushing.

"We were all fast. It is going to be a tough fight all the way to the finish."

While the feature race victory made up for the heartbreak of falling short in race two, Sunday's triumph was also a redemption moment for Zhou having lost a likely feature race win to a mechanical issue in last season's opener in Austria.

"It feels like in Austria the win was taken off us due to the issues we had, and this year again we tried to start really strong. We did the job in qualy and also the feature race," he added.

"Considering how crazy Saturday's races were, I didn't really expect to do anything but the key was to take good points and trying to get the win.

"There wasn't any key moments every moment was pretty intense out there especially as I started on prime from pole that is not the strategy that people normally would do.

"It definitely made up for the shame we had last year and right now I'm just super delighted with what we achieved this season, especially at Bahrain, especially compared to our pre-season testing performance and now coming to the real race weekend."

Zhou now leads the standings by 11 points from F2 rookie Liam Lawson, who enjoyed a stellar debut punctuated by a win in his first race in the series, followed by a third in Sunday's feature.

The championship heads to Monaco for round two on 20-22 May.

shares
comments
Ticktum: Costly pit stop robbed victory chance in feature race
Previous article

Ticktum: Costly pit stop robbed victory chance in feature race

Next article

Shwartzman "super sad" after difficult start to F2 campaign

Shwartzman "super sad" after difficult start to F2 campaign
Load comments
What next for "too politically incorrect" for F1 Ticktum? Prime

What next for "too politically incorrect" for F1 Ticktum?

Having by his own admission "blown my chances" of reaching Formula 1, Dan Ticktum is facing an uncertain future. A driver of unquestioned ability who has at times been his own worst enemy, can he apply his lessons and rebuild his career hopes?

FIA F2
Sep 30, 2021
How Piastri could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench Prime

How Piastri could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench

Tipped as the next big thing after winning the FIA Formula 3 championship in his rookie season, Oscar Piastri has taken Formula 2 by storm and looks set to clinch that title too. But with no Formula 1 seat available to him for next year, the Alpine junior may have to wait for his time in the spotlight…

FIA F2
Sep 24, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Prime

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Prime

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Prime

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place on the F1 grid

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Prime

How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season

Having impressed in Formula 3, Juri Vips looked to be next cab off the rank in Red Bull's prestigious Junior Team before his 2020 schedule was dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough start to life in Formula 2, Vips is showing signs of a recovery - could he be the first Estonian to reach Formula 1?

FIA F2
Jun 14, 2021
How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books Prime

How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype.

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Prime

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends.

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021