UNI-Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou got off to the perfect start in Round 1 at Sakhir, taking the first pole of the year and the opening Feature Race win of the season.

We spoke with the Alpine junior to get an insight into the man behind the visor, from karaoke to a special pair of sneakers, Zhou reveals all.

WHERE DO YOU CONSIDER HOME?

“I grew up in Shanghai, China. It’s my hometown and where I feel most at home. Shanghai is a huge city, completely different from anywhere I have been living in the past ten years.

“It is very different from Sheffield... People live very differently, plus you don’t really get a summer in Sheffield! I got used to the change though and have since lived in Maranello and London as well. Both were also very different. I am back living in London again now, which I think is the closest of all three places to Shanghai.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT RACING?

“The way in which everyone works together and the amount of effort that everyone puts in for you to win.

“And of course the champagne shower on the podium – that’s your reward for all of the hard work. “

Zhou says his favourite thing about racing is seeing how much work everyone puts in

HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM THE TRACK?

“Mostly playing video games, but I also like karaoke. I like to sing, although I am not very good. It is good fun, I mostly do rap songs, and no I won’t show you anything before you ask!

“Right now, my favourite video game would either be the Formula 1 game or the 2K21 basketball game.”

WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND ON THE F2 GRID?

“There are a few of them. I get on really well with Roy Nissany, Jehan Daruvala and Marcus Armstrong, I think those are the three people on the grid that I get on the best with. I have known them all for a long, long time.”

WHAT MEAL WOULD YOU COOK TO IMPRESS SOMEONE?

“It would be something Chinese, maybe egg fried rice. Something easy that doesn’t take too long, as I am not really a fan of cooking. I do have someone who usually cooks for me at home, although I like to make a little bit of dessert for myself.”

Zhou has a soft-spot for karaoke away from the track

IF YOU WEREN’T A DRIVER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

“A designer maybe – designing clothing or shoes. I am really into that sort of thing.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE?

“In terms of an English movie, maybe Jumanji? That is pretty good. The original one was better for me. The new one isn't bad, but I think that the older one was better. I usually watch Chinese movies, but that would be my favourite film in English.”

WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICAL ARTIST?

“J. Cole or the Higher Brothers. They released a song called "Made in China," which became really famous.”

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

“Kobe Bryant. He is my all-time idol. Kobe Bryant was such a great sportsman and person and is really inspiring.”

Zhou says he would love to explore China more, if he had the time

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?

One of my pairs of sneakers. I have quite a few of them I like, but one pair I own is a customised design and they have my logo on and a picture of Kobe. They were a present from someone and they mean more to me than the others, although I have so many pairs that I love.

Possibly my new simulator as well – it’s the colour pink. I think that it’s the only pink one that has been made. I think it’s pretty cool and unique - better than going for a standard colour.”

WHERE WOULD YOU VISIT IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD?

“China, but I would go to Shandong. I grew up in Shanghai, but I actually haven’t been to very many places in China. I have been to more places in Europe than in my own country, to be honest. There are a lot of places in China that I would like to explore, but haven’t had the time or chance to see yet.”