Alex Albon Defeats Charles Leclerc For First Virtual Grand Prix Win!
May 4, 2020
The 2019 race brought heartbreak. But for Alex Albon, a return to Interlagos heralded a first Virtual Grand Prix victory, as he bested two-time winner Charles Leclerc in Sao Paulo.
Effectively battling for the entire race, the pair passed and re-passed one another dozens of times, ensuring the result went right down to the wire. An unfortunate penalty for the Monegasque meant that Albon needed only to remain within three seconds of the FDA Hublot racer, but he got the job done on-track, passing for the final time on the penultimate lap.
Behind the leading pair, George Russell was homing in on them in his Williams. The Briton got within a few seconds at the end of the race, and ended up securing second, with Leclerc dropping to third.
Polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne had a nightmare start after making contact with Enzo Fittipaldi, and slumped to P12, but bounced back to grab a fine fourth place ahead of team mate Esteban Gutierrez. Christian Lundgaard was next for Renault, followed by Fittipaldi, Louis Deletraz, Nicholas Latifi, and Lando Norris, who rounded out the points.
Arthur Leclerc Takes First F2 Win
Whatâ€™s in a name? If youâ€™re a Leclerc, plenty. Arthur Leclerc proved his credentials with a dominant DOUBLE win in the F2 Virtual Race, Round 1. For the first time, the stars of Formula 2 and Formula 3 competed alongside F1, making it a complete Road to F1 representation.
Leclerc junior had started well, and took the lead with ease around Bahrain International Circuit, leading home Oliver Rowland and Liam Lawson. Finishing first in the main race meant a reverse-grid P8 start in the five-lap sprint race, but incredibly, he fought back to win that race as well.
Norman Nato was first over the line, but a time penalty meant that he dropped down the order after the chequered flag, handing Leclerc a delightful double in the five-lap race.
Marcel Kieferâ€™s Dream Red Bull Debut
Brazil proved a happy hunting ground for Red Bull. Alex Albon triumphed, but earlier on, it was his race engineer Marcel Kiefer who prevailed. The German couldnâ€™t take pole, but managed a front-row start alongside Dani Bereznay with a last-gasp lap.
The weather turned to rain for the race, and Kiefer made a bold start to take the lead â€“ a lead he would hold onto for the majority of the race. He dropped out of the lead briefly on Lap 14 when he pitted for dry tyres as the conditions improved, handing the lead to hard-charging former team mate Lucas Blakely, who sat a second adrift of Kiefer before the stops.
Though risky, the timing paid off perfectly, with the Red Bull man emerging ahead of Blakely once more, with Alvaro Carreton completing the podium. Reigning champion David Tonizza finished sixth, with two-time champ Brendon Leigh just outside the points in P11.
Thereâ€™s little time for reflection, with the next race just days away! The Virtual Spanish Grand Prix will take place on Sunday May 10 from 17:00 UTC in all the usual places â€“ Twitch, YouTube and Facebook. F2 Virtual Racing and the Esports Pro Exhibition will be in attendance too, so there are four fantastic spectacles to enjoy once again.
Keep an eye out on social media over the coming days for driver announcements as we get them. See you there!
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