Guanyu Zhou was at risk of becoming a nearly man in Formula 2. The UNI-Virtuosi racer has been on the precipice of a race win since first entering the Championship just over a year ago, but for one reason or another he kept coming up short. Finally, he’s got the monkey off his back, elating: “It was something amazing. I wanted that.”

Unfortunately, the morning was marred by a collision between Jack Aitken and Luca Ghiotto, which ended the race early and resulted in only half points being awarded, with less than 25% of the 21 lap race completed.

Zhou has waited a long time for this moment to come though and wasn’t about to let the matter of half points spoil his elation.

“Definitely proud,” he beamed. “It was something amazing. I wanted that, the same as last year. I remember last year when people would interview me, that I said that I wanted that first victory.

“We had that podium last year, and this year, getting that close in the first round of the season and losing that by a technical issue - it hurts. Then we had some struggles in the races.

“This weekend, starting from (reverse) pole, my target was just to win the race. I think we did everything correctly at the beginning, cleanly, and getting the nice gap with Nikita, pulling away together from the rest of the pack. I knew that the fight for victory was between me and him, more or less. On the other hand, it's definitely amazing to have that first victory. “

Zhou is hoping that his maiden win can open the floodgates in F2, with two rounds and four races remaining of the campaign.

He is up to eighth in the Drivers’ Championship, two-and-a-half points off Louis Deletraz in seventh, and 20.5 points behind Nikita Mazepin and Robert Shwarztman in sixth and fifth.

“I've been waiting such a long time,” he continued. “It's finally come around, and I think once you hit it the first time, there should be more coming. I'm definitely going to keep working hard, keep pushing, try to achieve more race wins and more podiums in the next two races.”