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Before even setting foot in an F1 car, Zhou Guanyu was bombarded with immense criticism and (in many cases) hate when Alfa Romeo announced he would drive for the team.

Whilst the frustration that F2 Champion Oscar Piastri would miss out on a seat was understandable, the narrative created around Zhou quickly became an exaggerated, warped and simply inaccurate one. 

The Chinese driver's junior career does not indicate he will reach the levels attained by the likes of Russell or Leclerc, but it would not be unreasonable to suggest Zhou can become a competent F1 driver, and his recent performances have shown this. 

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Despite scoring a point in his first F1 race, Zhou generally struggled to match the efforts of his experienced teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas is by no means a pushover, but you could reasonably argue that (despite being a rookie) the gaps between Zhou and Bottas in qualifying were too large. 

However, reliability problems have made analysing Zhou's ability difficult this season, with issues in Miami, Spain and Baku denying the #24 a chance to fight for the points. 

In the last two rounds, Zhou has found another gear, out-qualifying Bottas in Baku and Canada whilst also demonstrating very impressive race pace in these events. 

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His Canadian GP was compromised significantly by an inability to pass Lance Stroll, primarily due to the C42 lacking the straight-line speed to pass the Canadian.

Still, Zhou came across the line to take P8; his second points finish in F1 and a result that has silenced many of his critics/

The points gap between Zhou and Bottas is still very significant, but judging the rookie solely by this metric would be unfair. 

There is still progress to be made, but Zhou Guanyu (especially considering Theo Pourchaire is not setting the stars alight in F2) looks set to continue racing in the series next season. 

Fred Vasseur has complimented his recent form on the F1Nation Podcast, as quoted by racingnews365:

"It was a very good weekend, a great race today. I am more than pleased for the team and more than pleased for Zhou because he did a fantastic race scoring points. 

I think this will be a step up into his improvement for him and the team. 

From the beginning of the season, I think he made immediate step-by-step improvements. We put the first target to get into Q2, and he did it.

He was always really strong in the races that a couple of times he was able to score points... I'm more than pleased for him because he is always positive, always very team oriented."