Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas has spoken highly of team-mate Zhou Guanyu after a solid debut season in Formula 1 in 2022.
The 22-year-old graduated from Formula 2 last year having finished third in the feeder series in 2021, joining the Alfa Romeo team and cutting his ties with Alpine.
Zhou scored points on his debut in Bahrain, and added two more top 10 finishes thereafter as he ended the year 18th in the championship.
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Nine points finishes for the experiences Bottas in his first year for the team after joining from Mercedes helped the Swiss outfit take sixth in the Constructors’ conversation, signifying vast improvements on the 2021 campaign with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Team principal Fred Vasseur, who has now headed to Ferrari, created a blend of experience and youth last year – as he did with his previous line-up – and Bottas has given a favourable reference to his younger team-mate.
“The biggest strength this year has been that he really hasn’t made any mistakes,” he told Motorsport.com.
“It’s not guaranteed as a rookie, and it’s a sport where it’s easy to try too much and too hard and make silly mistakes.
“But he’s been good on giving himself some time to develop and not wanting things too quickly. He’s been able to progress step by step, both in qualifying pace and then in race pace.
“His technical knowledge is getting better and better, he’s getting more confident on choosing the set-up for him. It’s been good to see the progress.”
Impressively, Zhou out-qualified Bottas eight times last campaign during a fine effort in his debut year in the pinnacle of motorsport. Generally, his performances grew ever more accomplished as the season went on.
Perhaps equally importantly though, his dynamic with the 33-year-old Finn was a strong one from the off.
“We can work together really well,” explained Bottas.
“That’s important for a team that is trying to make progress, because if you have team-mates that are crashing into each other on-track, it’s not helping anything.”