Fernando Alonso is hoping Alpine test driver Guanyu Zhou is able to find a home in F1 after the Chinese driver's impressive maiden outing at last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.
Current F2 championship leader Zhou deputised for Alonso in first practice at the Red Bull Ring and performed brilliantly, keeping tabs with Alpine regular Esteban Ocon despite limited time in the A521.
Alonso has praised Zhou's work ethic and explained how he helped prepare the 22-year-old for his first official F1 session.
"It was a nice weekend for us to have Zhou in the car," said Alonso about a driver who made history by becoming only the second from China to participate in an F1 weekend.
"From the moment that we knew [he would be in the car], we were chatting on the telephone and on email about what I was feeling last weekend and getting him as prepared as possible for FP1.
"He is a very nice guy, very talented and he put a lot of work into the driving with the simulator time and the engineering time.
"It was a very professional weekend, well-executed from Zhou and what I expect, hopefully, is to see him in more FP1s to see him build the speed and the confidence.
"Also, if he can win the F2 championship that would be amazing. I like him as a person and as a driver so let's hope he can get into Formula 1 soon."
Alonso unconcerned by Williams pace after Russell battle
Alonso earned a solitary point in the race itself after overtaking George Russell's Williams in the closing three laps.
Despite the Grove-based team's strong pace in the Styrian hills, the Spaniard insisted there was no concern over Alpine's placing in the pecking order.
"They made a step forward, yes, but also we checked last year in Austria, they started 11th so it seems a circuit where they are performing really well," he added.
"We need to wait a couple of races to see if they are that fast or not but the first weekend they were closer to us, the last weekend, we had a little bit more margin.
"I am happy with the progress we have made in these two weeks so it is up to us now to keep it going into Silverstone to see if we can repeat this kind of performance because this will put us top seven, top eight and that is a step forward for sure."
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