Alfa Romeo mock Red Bull after knockout amid Cashgate Saga

Zhou Guanyu saw his Q3-worthy lap-time deleted after exceeding track limits at the Circuit of the Americas.

Alfa Romeo came quite literally within millimetres of having both Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu in the final part of qualifying at the United States Grand Prix, in what would’ve been a first double Q3 appearance for the Hinwil-based team this season.

Both Zhou and Bottas have looked strong at the Circuit of the Americas this weekend, with Bottas having safely secured himself a place in Q3.

Zhou, on the other hand, left it until his final lap to push himself into the top 10, but saw himself knocked down to P14 after having his last lap-time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 12.

This ended up having a dramatic effect on the rookie’s starting position for Sunday’s race, with the Chinese driver having been awarded a five-place grid penalty for taking on an engine component that exceeded his allotted pool.

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Zhou isn’t alone in taking a grid penalty, with a number of drivers having opted for the US Grand Prix to take onboard ‘illegal’ power unit components.

Bottas; however, has actually benefited massively from the vast number of drivers who’ve taken penalties for Sunday’s race, with the Finn set to start seventh for the race.

Zhou, unfortunately, will start P19, meaning a points finish for the only rookie on the grid is an unrealistic target.

Despite the disappointment of having Zhou miss out on Q3 due to exceeding track limits by a next-to-nothing margin, the Swiss side took it well!

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Alfa Romeo’s Twitter admin took a hilarious dig at Red Bull following Zhou’s deleted lap, where the sixth-placed team commented below their own tweet “that was a minor breach of the track limit regulations”.

The swipe comes amid the ‘Cashgate’ scandal, with Red Bull having been announced guilty by the FIA two weeks ago for breaching the 2021 budget cap of £114 million.

The governing body labelled it as a ‘minor’ breach, hence the wording used by Alfa Romeo.

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Whilst Zhou will have a mission on his hands to finish in the top 10, points are a real possibility for Bottas.

The former Mercedes driver has astonishingly failed to finish in the points since the Canadian Grand Prix, which took place over four months ago.

Bottas is still currently occupying P10 in the Drivers’ Championship but will be hoping to put an end to his point-less streak.