WATCH: 7’6″ NBA legend Yao Ming towers over F1 driver Zhou Guanyu as the two are spotted at the Chinese GP

Yao Ming towered over Zhou Guanyu while meeting the first Chinese F1 driver before the start of the race in Shanghai.

WATCH: 7’6″ NBA legend Yao Ming towers over F1 driver Zhou Guanyu as the two are spotted at the Chinese GP

Yao Ming (L), Zhou Guanyu (R) (images via IMAGO), Zhou Guanyu meeting Yao Ming at the Chinese GP (via F1).

All eyes are set on the local hero Zhou Guanyu at the Chinese GP. The home fans have great expectations from the 24-year-old to perform well at the Shanghai circuit. Guanyu’s P9 finish in the Sprint race was followed by great cheer and excitement. However, a majority of the expectations crumbled after a disappointing qualifying session for the Chinese driver. Regardless of the performances, during the pre-race rituals, the Chinese driver was spotted meeting up with NBA legend Yao Ming.

Yao Ming was the previous tallest athlete in the history of the NBA with an astonishing height of 7 ft 6 in. Zhou Guanyu‘s 5 ft 7 in height meant that the NBA star stood much taller than him and made Guanyu feel like a dwarf. Ming has minted his name in the NBA’s history and boosted China’s image in Basketball. Hence, Zhou Guanyu is similarly propelling Formula 1’s popularity in China by being the first Chinese driver in the history of Formula 1. The 24-year-old has previously opened up regarding the pressure on his shoulders due to being the only Chinese driver.

Zhou Guanyu performed well during the initial two sessions of the Chinese weekend. However, during the Qualifying session, the local hero failed to clear the Q1 qualifying session. Hence, a lot of the fans lost hope of a shot at scoring points for Guanyu. Regardless, Guanyu will try his best to showcase his racing talent in front of his home crowd.

Yao Ming claims he’s ‘happy’ for Zhou Guanyu being the only Chinese driver in Formula 1

Yao Ming was questioned regarding Zhou Guanyu’s stint in Formula 1 as a Chinese driver. Hence, the NBA star showcased his satisfaction with the 24-year-old. According to Ming, it was high time for history to repeat itself. The former Basketball player mentioned that much like his stint in Basketball, it was time for Guanyu to etch his name in the history books of the infamous Chinese athletes.

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu
Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu (Via: Imago)

Yao Ming pointed out that Formula 1 raced in China for the past twenty years without a Chinese driver. Albeit Shanghai was off the calendar between from 2020 to 2023. Hence, Guanyu being the only Chinese driver ever in F1 was a great feat for not only the driver but the nation as a whole. Hence, Ming asserted that he was quite ‘happy’ for the 24-year-old racing in the pinnacle of motorsport under China’s nationality.

I guess it's time for history to repeat itself... just like basketball before I come to play, it wasn't really popular in China. Formula 1 is in China for the past 20 years, and this time we have a Chinese racer on the court [grid].. Im happy for him.
Yao Ming said during pre-race interview.

Zhou Guanyu’s performance at the Chinese GP has been inconsistent as he found it difficult to clear the Q1. Regardless, all hopes are set on the 24-year-old to score some points at his home race. The Chinese driver will have to push hard to move up the pecking order for a shot at point contention. Although, it remains to be seen where Guanyu finishes at the end of this race.

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