The F1 Virtual Grand Prix (Virtual GP) returned for the Vietnam round held at Albert Park Circuit with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc dominating it.
The Virtual GP returned for the second time for the Vietnam round, which was held at Australia’s Albert Park circuit as the F1 2019 game did not have the new Hanoi track. There were quite a change in the driver line-up too with six of the current drivers in.
McLaren’s Lando Norris and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi stayed on from the Bahrain Virtual GP, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc joining in along with Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Williams’ George Russell.
The 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button joined in for McLaren in the Virtual GP with seniors like Johnny Herbert (Alfa Romeo), Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes), Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes) and Anthony Davidson (Racing Point) also in.
Among the junior racers, the Vietnam Virtual GP had Arthur Leclerc (Ferrari), Christian Lundgaard (Renault), Louis Deletraz (Haas) and Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas). English cricket player Ben Stokes was the least experienced in the pack for Red Bull.
The remaining of the grid has AlphaTauri (in the Toro Rosso) duo Luca Salvadori and Nunzio Todisco, Renault’s Andre Heimgartner and Racing Point’s Jimmy Broadbent. It was the Dane on pole for the Vietnam Virtual GP at the Albert Park circuit.
But he had a penalty which dropped him to fifth as C Leclerc started on pole alongside Russell. The Brit though made a mistake few laps in the race to allow A Leclerc to move in second and Lundgaard getting back up the order in third ahead of the Williams racer.
Giovinazzi, meanwhile, held on fifth with Vandoorne chasing him as Deletraz, Broadbent, Button and Heimgartner rounded out the Top 10 initially. Meanwhile, it was another disaster for Norris as technical issue meant he was out along with Gutierrez.
Post the pit stops in the 29-lap race, C Leclerc continued to lead from Lundgaard as Russell had the other Monegasque behind him. Giovinazzi had a lonely time in fifth with Deletraz managing to get by Vandoorne despite having a spin early on.
It was status quo at the front with Leclerc winning for Ferrari on debut in the Vietnam Virtual GP as he dominated at Albert Park from Renault’s Lundgaard with Williams’ Russell rounding out the Top 3. The Dane had time penalty but hung on to second.
A Leclerc was fourth eventually despite multiple mistakes as he led Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi, Mercedes’ Vandoorne and Haas’ Deletraz as Red Bull’s Albon climbed back to eighth from Racing Point’s Broadbent and Williams’ Latifi in Top 10.
Button missed out in 11th as Fittipaldi fell out from points after a late mistake to be 14th, with Davidson 15th, Herbert 17th and Stokes 18th. Here’s the video feed for that race in case you missed it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y67x0Hu8ssU
This Leclerc-dominated race, though, was not the only F1-sanctioned Esports event of the day. Rather, there was one other comprised of professional sim drivers. This ‘pro’ race was won by Frederik Rasmussen (Red Bull), who pipped Haas driver Floris Wijers (2nd). Third place was David Tonizza (Ferrari), fourth was Nicolas Longuet (Renault), and fifth was occupied by Lucas Blakeley (Racing Point).
Michael Romanidis came sixth in his Williams, beating Marcel Kiefer (Toro Rosso) by one position, and Bono Huis (Mercedes) by two. Salih Saltunc (McLaren) came ninth, and Enzo Bonitto (Ferrari) rounded out the top ten.
Here’s how the first F1 Virtual GP panned out in Bahrain