Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu says Lewis Hamilton has been “very much on my side, and he knows what I’ve been through, because it’s kind of similar”.
In a recent interview with Crash.net, F1 rookie Zhou Guanyu spoke of his admiration of Lewis Hamilton and said the Briton is “one of the greatest in the history of motorsport”.
“The way [Lewis] was dealing with the pressures, is insane,” Zhou continued.
“I feel like what Lewis experienced in some stages, I experienced at the beginning of the year before the first race.
“So I can feel how tough he went through it. He’s been through that while he was fighting for several F1 titles.
“For me, I know I’m not going to be fighting for the title, maybe to score points get the best out of my car. So big respect to him.
“Especially in F1, the hardest competition, to be winning seven years is crazy. Doesn’t matter if you have the best car, still winning is not easy.”
Zhou also revealed he and Lewis have become closer throughout the season.
“He congratulated me after Bahrain and we sometimes stay in touch. Not knowing him for long, I think it’s the first time I’ve actually got to know him, this year.
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“Obviously advice he wouldn’t give me, because it’s a competition. But he’s been very much on my side, and he knows what I’ve been through, because it’s kind of similar.”
As the first Chinese driver in Formula 1, Zhou had been subjected to online racist abuse ahead of his debut in 2022. He says he understands the racism that Lewis had to face throughout his career.
“I feel like I’ve experienced what he experienced maybe two years ago, when he was standing out and getting all the racist comments, especially last year.
“I was experiencing last year at the same time but kind of in a different area of our career, so these things are similar. At least this year I think both of us can be showing people what we deserve.
“I think F1 is a big family sport, so to have everyone understanding that and to be positive about everything, is the right way to be going forward.
“Lewis is the leader of the drivers, trying to lead the sport into a better future, which has the respect of all the drivers,” Zhou concluded.