Formula 1 | Zhou: Hamilton has been ‘on my side’ since start of year

Zhou: Hamilton was 'of my (...)

Guanyu Zhou discovered the ruthless world of Formula 1 this year. The Alfa Romeo F1 driver came under fire even before his first Grand Prix, because of his paying driver status, then discovered the pressure that comes with being a driver, which made him realize the level at which Lewis Hamilton knew how to handle that.

« The way he handled the pressure is crazy » explains Zhou. « I feel like what Lewis went through in some stages, I went through it at the start of the year before the first race. So I can feel how much he went through that ordeal. He went through there while he was fighting for several F1 titles. »

« For me, I know I’m not going to fight for the title, maybe to score points and get the best out of my car. So I owe him a lot of respect. Especially in F1, the toughest competition, winning for seven years is crazy. It doesn’t matter if you have the best car, winning is not easy. »

Zhou reveals that he had contact with Hamilton several times this season, and felt supported by the seven-time world champion: « He congratulated me after Bahrain and we keep in touch sometimes. »

« I haven’t known him for a long time and it’s the first time I’ve met him this year. Obviously he wouldn’t give me advice, because it’s a competition. But he’s been on my side, and he knows what I’ve been through, because it’s kind of the same. »

Zhou sympathizes with racist comments

Unfortunately, Zhou has also suffered racist comments on social media this winter, as Hamilton may have suffered, and he can put himself in the shoes of what the Mercedes F1 driver had to deal with: « I feel like I went through what he went through two years ago when he was standing out and getting all the racist comments, especially last year. »

« I went through the same thing last year, but at another point in my career, so these things are similar. At least this year, I think we can both show people that we are deserving. »

« I think F1 is a great family sport so everyone has to understand that and be positive about everything, that’s the right way forward. Lewis is the leader of the drivers, he tries to lead the sport towards a better future, and he has the respect of all the drivers. »

The same passion for fashion

The Chinese driver is also a big fan of fashion, which gives him another point in common with Hamilton, and he appreciates seeing the Briton stand out with his clothing choices: « It’s been great the past few years to see Lewis show a different style in the paddock. »

« This year I tried to show the clothes that I like to wear in the paddock. In the past, maybe 20 years ago, racing drivers only thought about racing. We always have Nice personal things to do and I think it’s great to show them on Thursdays. »

« Obviously he was the first to open up like that and it wasn’t easy. I remember perfectly the first time he did it. A lot of people were like ‘why is it? does it?’ and I was one of those people who loved her fashion sense. »

« When I came to F1 I really wanted to be myself, whether on track or off, so that’s what I tried to do. It’s great that now we have more people who use their own clothes in the paddock. »

He plans to follow in Hamilton’s footsteps by launching his own clothing line: « It’s definitely on the plan for the future. Because I really want to create my own brand, just doing fashion design. »

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