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Motor racing: China’s Zhou impresses Alonso on F1 practice debut, Formula One News & Top Stories

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA (AFP) – China’s Zhou Guanyu had his first taste of life in the Formula One fast lane on Friday (July 2) when he took the wheel of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine in first practice at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old from Shanghai who tops the F2 standings is hoping to become China’s first F1 driver.

And after finishing 14th in the timesheets the Alpine test driver described his morning stint at the Spielberg circuit as “amazing”.

“I’m happy with how I went and I definitely proved myself here, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in the background and to keep improving more in the future,” he added.

“I’m really thankful for this opportunity – the team believing in me stepping into Fernando’s car. I had to take care of it, but I was also pushing as much as I could to show my full potential.”

One of those impressed at his performance was his childhood hero, Alonso.

“He executed FP1 perfectly in my opinion, slowly building the pace, and no stress with many things,” said the two-time world champion.

“So let’s see if later in the year there are more opportunities for Zhou,” he added.

Zhou follows compatriot Ma Qinghua, who drove in several practice sessions in 2012-2013 with the HRT and Caterham teams, and Adderly Fong, who appeared in 2014 for Sauber.