It was only time for Brendon Leigh to take the 2018 F1’s ESports series title with the British driver retaining his crown as Mercedes won the first-ever esports championship.
The final weekend in the 2018 season started at the Gfinity Arena in London with Sauber’s Salih Saltunc dominating the race at Hockenheim from Mercedes’ Brendon Leigh who had Red Bull Racing’s Joni Tormala fighting for second.
The two exchanged places a couple of times but Leigh stayed ahead. Force India’s Fabrizio Donoso was fourth with Williams Alvaro Carreton doing well in fifth from Mercedes’ Daniel Berezany who had to fend off Toro Rosso’s Patrick Holzmann.
Holzamann’s teammate Cem Bolukbasi was right behind in eighth with Force India’s Marcel Kiefer on his tail as McLaren’s Olli Pahkala completed the Top 10 after fending off Williams’ Tino Naukkarainen.
The second in Singapore had Leigh back on top with a win after a hefty fight against Williams’ Carreton who did well to score a podium for the British team as Force India’s Kiefer rounded out the podium position.
Berezany’s fourth place helped him to keep the title hopes alive as he fended off Haas’ Martin Stefanko in the closing stages with Toro Rosso’s Bolukbasi in sixth from Red Bull’s Tormala and Toro Rosso’s Holzmann.
Renault’s Sven Zurner was ninth with Red Bull’s Graham Carroll in 10th. The third race at Circuit of the Americas sealed the deal for Leigh with the British dominating up front while the fight was on for the rest of the positions.
Toro Rosso played the team game to allow Holzmann ahead of Rasmussen. The idea was Holzmann to catch Berezany but the Mercedes driver stayed second in a Mercedes 1-2. Force India’s Kiefer finished fourth on the road but a three second penalty dropped him to seventh as Sauber’s Saltunc inherited fourth.
Toro Rosso’s Rasmussen ended up fifth after Renault’s Zurner penalty dropped him to seventh – but he gained a place to sixth. McLaren’s Bonito finished eighth ahead of teammate Huis with Red Bull’s Tormala rounding the Top 10.
The final round at Yas Marina Circuit ended up being a thriller as well with the race going 50% and the drivers and teams awarded double points. Rasmussen started on pole but Leigh was quick to take over the lead as the Toro Rosso driver then set in a chase.
It got tasty in the end stages when Leigh started to lose grip and Rasmussen caught him up which allowed Mercedes’ Berezany to catch up along with the McLaren duo of Huis and Bonito as well in a five-way fight.
In the end, Berezany managed to overtake Leigh and Rasmussen to win the final race and score the 50 points while Leigh was second on the road but dropped three places to finish with a three second penalty due to track limits.
It was McLaren’s Huis then taking second after he overtook Rasmussen with Bonito making it a McLaren 2-4. Sauber’s Allert van der Wal was a distant sixth from Haas’ Stefanko and Sauber’s Saltunc in the Top 8.
Red Bull’s Tormala and Renault Zurner rounded out the Top 10 originally but penalties dropped them outside the points as it promoted the two Force India racers Donoso and Kiefer in ninth and 10th respectively.
In the end, Leigh finished off the championship with 216 points to Berezany’s 166 with Rasmussen in third with 127, Saltunc in fourth with 83 and Kiefer in fifth with 65. The teams’ title went to Mercedes with 382 points to Toro Rosso’s 210.
It was a hard fought battle for third which was taken up by Sauber with 119 points with McLaren storming into fourth with 101 points after a mighty finish in Abu Dhabi – they managed to beat Force India (99) and Red Bull (89) in the end.
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