As a part of a wide-ranging interview forward of the Belgian Grand Prix, Zhou informed Crash.web of his respect and admiration for Hamilton, who he branded as “one of many biggest within the historical past of motorsport”.
“The best way he was coping with the pressures, is insane,” Zhou continued.
“I really feel like what Lewis skilled in some phases, I skilled initially of the yr earlier than the primary race. So I can really feel how robust he went by way of it. He’s been by way of that whereas he was preventing for a number of F1 titles.
“For me, I do know I’m not going to be preventing for the title, possibly to attain factors get the very best out of my automotive. So massive respect to him.
“Particularly in F1, the toughest competitors, to be profitable seven years is loopy. Doesn’t matter when you’ve got the very best automotive, nonetheless profitable shouldn’t be simple.”
Whereas Hamilton has not given any of his secrets and techniques to success away, Zhou revealed the Briton provided his congratulations after he marked his F1 debut with factors in Bahrain.
Hamilton was additionally seen checking in with Zhou throughout Thursday’s media duties in Austria, days after Zhou survived a terrifying airborne crash on the British Grand Prix.
“He congratulated me after Bahrain and we typically keep in contact,” Zhou stated.
“Not understanding him for lengthy, I believe it’s the primary time I’ve really received to know him, this yr. Clearly recommendation he wouldn’t give me, as a result of it’s a contest.
“However he’s been very a lot on my facet, and he is aware of what I’ve been by way of, as a result of it’s type of related.”
Hamilton has typically confronted criticism about his help for variety and equality. A robust and main voice within the Black Lives Matter motion, Hamilton has repeatedly challenged his personal sport and fellow drivers to do extra lately.
Zhou, who was subjected to on-line abuse and racist feedback previous to his rookie F1 season, says he can perceive the difficulties Hamilton has needed to undergo.
“I really feel like I’ve skilled what he skilled possibly two years in the past, when he was standing out and getting all of the racist feedback, particularly final yr,” he defined.
“I used to be experiencing final yr on the similar time however type of in a distinct space of our profession, so this stuff are related. At the least this yr I believe each of us may be displaying individuals what we deserve.
“I believe F1 is an enormous household sport, so to have everybody understanding that and to be optimistic about the whole lot, is the best technique to be going ahead.
“Lewis is the chief of the drivers, making an attempt to steer the game into a greater future, which has the respect of all of the drivers.”
Zhou shares Hamilton’s ardour for style and says the Mercedes driver’s flamboyant fashion has helped him really feel snug in expressing himself within the F1 paddock.
“It’s been nice in the previous few years watching Lewis displaying a distinct fashion within the paddock,” he stated.
“This yr I’ve been making an attempt to indicate the stuff I normally wish to put on within the paddock. Previously, possibly 20 years in the past, racing drivers had been nearly racing. We nonetheless have our pleasant private stuff to do and to be displaying that on Thursdays, I believe it’s nice.
“Clearly he was the primary one to be open in that manner and it wasn’t simple. I totally bear in mind the primary time he did that. Lots of people had been saying ‘why is he carrying that?’ and I used to be one of many guys who preferred his style sense.
“Once I arrived in F1, I simply actually needed to be myself, both on observe or off observe, in order that was what I attempted to do. It’s nice that now we’ve got extra individuals utilizing their very own garments within the paddock.”
And Zhou plans to observe in Hamilton’s footsteps by launching his personal clothes line.
“That’s undoubtedly on the plan sooner or later,” he added. “As a result of I actually need to make my very own model sooner or later, simply purely style designing stuff.”