F1 ESPORTS ROARS INTO LIFE FOR 2021
October 14, 2021
The 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco was back with a bang on Wednesday night, as the first night of racing action produced two instant classics in Bahrain and China! Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Esports Teamâ€™s Lucas Blakeley secured an emotional first win after a tense fight in the desert of Sakhir, while defending champion Janrno Opmeer played a blinding strategy to overcome the odds in Shanghai.
Hereâ€™s what went down as F1 Esports returned in style.
BLAKELEYâ€™S BAHRAIN BREAKTHROUGH
Lucas Blakeley has enjoyed podium success in the F1 Esports Series before, but that elusive win has always lingered just out of reach. That all changed on Wednesday though, when the Scot took an emotional first win under the lights in Bahrain.
Polesitter Nicolas Longuet was out-dragged by Blakeley at the start, and the latter led into Turn 1, a lead he would protect for most of the race. However the cat-and-mouse battle reached critical point on Lap 17, as Longuet seized the lead.
For two laps he sat behind the Frenchman, before re-taking the lead on Lap 19. Alvaro Carreton in third muscled in on the action on the final lap and almost stoled second place, but despite some minor contact, Blakeley held on to lead Longuet and Carreton over the line.
Reigning champion Jarno Opmeer was next, followed by new Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports team mate Dani Moreno. Bari Boroumand put in a fine performance to finish sixth on his McLaren shadow debut, ahead of Red Bull Racing Esports duo Frede Rasmussen and Marcel Kiefer. FDA Esportsâ€™ David Tonizza and Alpineâ€™s Fabrizio Donoso rounded out the points.
OPMEER ROLLS THE DICE
Jarno Opmeer needed a minor miracle to salvage something from race 2 in China, having qualified a dismal P14. The Dutch master did not disappoint though. With a wet start, the entire field started on in wet tyres, but Opmeer opted for the intermediates â€“ a move that proved genius on Lap 5 when the majority of the field pitted.
As those around him switched compounds, Opmeer ate into their advantages, and by the time the leaders pitted, he was already clear. From P18 on Lap 1 to leading the race by half-distance.
The conditions continued to improve however, and it was Donoso who was next to roll the dice, pitting for slick tyres on Lap 16. Opmeer followed suit on Lap 17 and arrived at Turn 1 to see Donoso fly past into the lead once more. But later in the lap, a small error from Donoso allowed Opmeer an opportunity too good to resist, and he powered through to take the lead on the back straight.
From then on it was a comfortable win, ahead of Donoso, Kiefer, Blakeley, and Boroumand who had slipped backwards from pole. Brendon Leigh got on the scoreboard for FDA Esports in sixth, ahead of Aston Martinâ€™s Daniele Haddad in seventh. Moreno came home eighth, and Williams Esportsâ€™ Michael Romanidis and Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN Esports new blood Filip Prensajder completed the points-scorers.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
An epic night of racing is in the history books, but weâ€™re not done yet! Event 1 concludes on Thursday, with the qualifying show from 15:30 BST, and the race show at 19:30, where weâ€™ll be visiting the epic Red Bull Ring in Austria. Join us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or with our broadcast partners around the globe!
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