How a Shanghai to Sheffield journey paved the way for China’s F1 hero

One floor below ground, in the crowded pedestrian vestibule connecting London’s Piccadilly Circus with Leicester Square – still bustling with tourists despite the Stygian murk enveloping the capital – lies Zhou Guanyu’s favourite eatery in the city. It tells you much about China’s first Formula 1 racer that this is no exclusive, highfalutin, Michelin-starred establishment but a busy, friendly Szechuan-style diner: Haidilao Hot Pot, a chain with hundreds of branches around the globe.

As we’re guided to a quiet back room, it’s clear Zhou is a frequent flyer here. Every member of staff gives him a cheery greeting and he browses the iPad-based menu with a confident sweep of the fingers.

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