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Bottas uncovers "special" Zhou quality

Bottas uncovers "special" Zhou quality

Bottas uncovers "special" Zhou quality

Bottas uncovers "special" Zhou quality
Ian Parkes

Valtteri Bottas has praised team-mate Zhou Guanyu as a "special" rookie following a solid first year in F1.

The Chinese driver had the weight of a country on his shoulders as its first representative in the sport, while there was also criticism of his appointment, with many pointing to the 23-year-old's commercial appeal over his F2 performance.

Scoring points in his first race in Bahrain, however, lay the foundation for a strong showing across the campaign, although Zhou's best drives were masked by the waning pace of his Alfa Romeo.

Poor reliability was also to blame for missed opportunities, yet the experienced Bottas was still left impressed by the efforts of his team-mate.

"At the beginning of the year when we were scoring [points], he was still learning a lot," said Bottas, speaking in an end-of-season interview with GPFans.

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“When the car was there, that was still his learning period, let's say. After that, he developed so much throughout the year.

"He became quicker, his feedback became more precise, he became more confident.

“There were qualifying sessions that he was in front of me, so he is quick.

“It's not easy ever to have your first season in F1, and with the pressure of having to prove yourself that you belong in F1. He did extremely well."

Highlighting a key aspect of Zhou's displays, Bottas added: “What was impressive was how few mistakes he made - almost none - and that's pretty special for a rookie.

"Normally from rookie drivers, you quite often see mistakes, whether it's crashes or mistakes in the qualifying lap or silly contacts in races.

“For a rookie, he was pretty consistent and that means he's mentally quite strong.

"He allowed himself some time to develop and take things step by step and that's been good to see.”

Additional reporting by Ewan Gale

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