George Russell Wins in Monaco to Take Back-to-back Victories!
May 24, 2020
GEOOOOOOORGE! Williams Racing’s George Russell absolutely crushed it, dominating Sunday’s Virtual Monaco Grand Prix. The Briton was almost 40 seconds up the road as he crossed the line, sealing a second consecutive victory in the series.
He adds to his win in Spain two weeks prior, where he duelled with Charles Leclerc for the entirety of the race. Though that race went down to the wire, Monaco was a different matter, not giving anyone a chance to get close.
Check out the highlights from the race here…
Qualifying for the race saw unseasonal grey clouds in the principality. The deluge necessitated the use of wet tyres, something not seen before in Virtual Grand Prix Qualifying. Many new faces shot to the top, with the rain levelling the playing field. Young guns with big names, David Schumacher and Pietro Fittipaldi both impressed massively, with the latter lining up on pole, and Schumacher third, split by Russell in second.
Russell owned the start though, charging into the lead at lights out. Leading into Saint Devote is its own reward, and he avoided the chaos that unfolded behind him. Leclerc and Fittipaldi made brief contact, while Lando Norris witnessed a flying Luca Salvadori.
Damage was turned off for this race, a measure taken to ensure there were at least some drivers around to cross the finish line. Possibly the biggest collision was for Lando Norris, battling both Leclerc brothers for position. He massively mis-judged his braking point, leading to this t-bone at the first corner….
Leclerc cracked on into the race in pursuit of second place, but things came to a head when he and Esteban Gutierrez made contact near the end of the race. Coming through the tunnel, Leclerc cut across Gutierrez’s line, causing him to slam into the outside wall, then spin on the run down the the Nouvelle Chicane.
He recovered from the spin and went on to settle for third, finally seeing the chequered flag in his home event. And though he’d been turned the wrong way, Leclerc was the first to jump to Gutierrez’s defence after the incident. GG, Charles.
Guest starring in this week’s race and making his Virtual GP debut was Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and before the race the Gunners front man got some advice from McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, and one of the team’s data experts.
And for a first-timer, Aubameyang certainly didn’t disgrace himself in a field of Grand Prix drivers, coming home in 16th place, ahead of fellow guest stars, big-wave surfer Kai Lenny and Latin American singer Luis Fonsi.
However, he was not the highest finisher from the world of football, with Belgium goalkeeper and F1 Esports regular Thibaut Courtois finishing 13th and, impressively, ahead of Nico Prost and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Home Heroics in F2
The younger Leclerc brother, Arthur, was triumphant in the F2 Virtual Monaco Sprint Race on Sunday afternoon â€“ though he only actually crossed the line in second place. He was running second to poleman Juan Manuel Correa, and was desperately probing for a way past the Charouz driver throughout the five lap race, but Correa kept the door firmly shut.
But on the final lap, just when it looked like Leclerc would have to settle for second, Correa was given two time penalties, and when the two crossed the finish line nose to tail, Leclerc was immediately handed the win, and Louis Deletraz promoted to second. Gutting for Correa, but elation for the Prema driver.
In the Feature Race, it was Deletraz who sealed the win, twelve months after being denied victory in the principality. However it was Lirim Zendeli who led the majority of the race, but dropped out just two laps before the flag due to a technical issue. Jack Aitken took second place, with 16-year-old Theo Pourchaire grabbing an excellent third. Check out the highlights.
Blakeley Takes Top Spot
Lap one. It’s an unusual time to make a pit stop, but it worked wonders for BWT Racing Points F1 Esports’ Lucas Blakeley in the principality. His ultra-early stop ensured he avoided traffic, and two blisteringly quick out-laps meant that when reigning champion David Tonizza emerged from his stop on Lap 4, Blakeley shot past.
From then, it was an intense cat-and-mouse duel, with Tonizza visibly able to push the rear of the Racing Point at some corners. But on the straights, Blakeley was just too quick, holding back Tonzilla and claiming a fantastic victory. Tonizza claimed second, with two-time champion and poleman Brendon Leigh taking P3. Check out the highlights here.
Our next race will take place on another street circuit, as we head to the digital incarnation of Baku Street Circuit on Sunday June 7 from 18:00. Once again, we’ll be joined by F2 Virtual Racing and the F1 Esports Pro Exhibition! Keep an eye out for someÂ veryÂ exciting driver announcements in the week leading up to the race. We can’t wait!
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