Ferrari has made a dream start to its 2019 F1 Esports campaign in Round 1 with two wins to Red Bull Racing’s one on Wednesday.
Following all the selection events and Pro Draft, the 2019 F1 Esports action kick-started on Wednesday in London’s Gfinity arena, where Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott were in attendance too.
It was a solid start to Ferrari’s campaign though with a double win and three podiums in all as David Tonizza leads the standings with 65 points in all from the other winner Frederik Rasmussen on 43.
The Italian outfit also has 65 points to Red Bull’s 44 in all with eRacing Point in third with 38 points via Marcel Kiefer, who is third as well with 29. The Round 1 had three races in Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan.
Here’s how the races panned out – the report comes from F1 Esports series:
First race, first win on the board for Ferrari Driver Academy! After starting an impressive third on the grid, Italy’s David Tonizza dominated the first race of 2019 under the floodlights in Bahrain.
He made his move for the lead shortly before the pit stop phase, overcoming Daniel Bereznay for top spot. On the flip-side, it was a story of heartbreak for new Alfa Romeo signing Bereznay, who tagged the back-end of Tonizza on Lap 6, racer, spinning himself round and dropping him out of contention.
The Hungarian just barely over-shot his braking zone into Turn 4, but it was enough to ruin his season opener. So despite showing pace that looked set to earn a podium, he was left frustrated, and finished down in P19, well out of the points.
Red Bull new blood Frederik Rasmussen looked on for a top-three finish, but was caught up in the Bereznay-Tonizza melee, and dropped outside the points after picking up wing damage. New Renault signing Jarno Opmeer progressed from P4 on the grid to seal a fine second-place finish on his F1 Esports debut, meaning they are already just five points behind their 2018 points haul after just one race.
Alfa Romeo’s Salih Saltunc completed the podium, making it a bittersweet desert showdown for the much-fancied Italian outfit after Bereznay’s no-score.
Alfa are intent on challenging Mercedes for the teams’ championship this season, and it was an unusually slow start for reigning champion Brendon Leigh, who wound up P5 after running long early in the race.
Racing Point’s Marcel Keifer claimed fourth ahead of Leigh, with Italian duo Enzo Bonito and Daniele Haddad sixth and seventh.
Ferrari Driver Academy followed up with a second win in a row, with Tonizza once again demonstrating his monstrous pace in Shanghai. However it was a breathless duel for the second spot on the podium that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Heading into Lap 6, the pair were side-by-side throughout the entire first sector, until Kiefer eventually conceded defeat. Dani Bereznay was in the mix once again, but the Hungarian experienced issues mid-way though the race, and eventually retired.
His team mate however was able to secure fourth place to give Alfa another clutch of points. Opmeer added to his podium in the first race with a strong fifth place, with Huis, Patryk Krutyj, Haddad and Joni Tormala completing the points.
Frederik Rasmussen prevented David Tonizza from taking a clean sweep in Baku. No stranger to winning in Baku, the Dane showed his street circuit expertise with a well-controlled race at the front in Baku, to make it two podiums in a row and mark himself as a championship contender once more.
Many will remember his epic battle over the line with Brendon Leigh in 2018, with less than a tenth of a second separating the two, and there were similar scenes this year, albeit for P3.
Tonizza duelled tooth-and-nail with Alvaro Carreton along the main straight, and they crossed the line virtually neck-and-neck. However, a time penalty for Carreton for speeding in the pit lane dropped him down the order.
The remaining podium spot in P2 was filled by Carreton’s Williams stablemate Tino Naukkarinen, who subbed in for Isaac Price after the first two races.
Behind the top three, Brendon Leigh got back into his groove with P4, followed by Bono Huis in fifth. Then completing the points were Carreton, Bereznay, Kiefer, Saltunc and Cedric Thome, who took his first point of the season.