The glitz and glamour of the Monaco Grand Prix did nothing to distract Formula 2 rookie Guan Yu Zhou, the Chinese UNI-Virtuosi Racing driver taking a podium and a fourth on his first ever visit to the principality.
Renault Formula 1 junior Zhou prepared hard for the weekend on the simulator before the event, knowing that Monaco is incredibly difficult for rookies to be competitive at straight away.
It certainly looked that way in qualifying when traffic played a role and the 20-year-old qualified 16th. But after an unbelievable first stint, Zhou battled hard to work his way to fifth after the results were released.
The great finish meant Zhou started the reversed-grid race in fourth, and a demon start immediately put Zhou into a podium position. He had to fight double Monaco racewinner Artem Markelov – an ex-UNI-Virtuosi driver – and after intense pressure all race, Zhou actually moved closer to the leaders at the end but wasn’t able to overtake, which is notoriously difficult on the narrow streets of Monaco.
UNI-Virtuosi’s second driver Luca Ghiotto showed rapid pace to finish the first race in second place securing a double podium for the team, but a technical infringement meant he was excluded from the order, ruining his chances of a strong result in the second race.
The series returns in three weeks time to Paul Ricard, near Marseille, for round five of 12.
Guan Yu Zhou
“I’m over the moon with the podium today, especially after starting P4. The target was to get a great start which we did. Having multiple winner Artem Markelov behind and keeping him behind was never going to be easy. The whole race he stayed behind my bumper so close and the pressure I got was massive. Big thanks to the team they did a great job again this weekend
“It was a useless weekend. We did a good race in race one and qualifying. P2 was good points but the disqualification meant our points were cancelled. We need to think about France where I hope we will be on top and stronger than this weekend.”