The F1 Virtual Grand Prix (Virtual GP) was back for the China round held at Shanghai International Circuit with Charles Leclerc winning again.
The Virtual GP returned for the third time for the China round, which was held at the Shanghai International Circuit on the F1 2019 game. There were some changes in the driver line-up too with now seven of the current drivers playing.
McLaren’s Lando Norris, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi & George Russell, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi stayed in, with Carlos Sainz making it seven F1 drivers entering for the China Virtual GP.
Among the drivers returning from Vietnam Virtual GP round were Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes), Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes), Anthony Davidson (Racing Point), Jimmy Broadbent (Racing Point), Louis Deletraz (Haas), Callum Ilott (Ferrari) and Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas).
Guyanu Zhou (Renault), meanwhile, returned after winning the Bahrain round as Juan Manuel Correa joined Alfa Romeo for his debut alongside Liam Lawson at AlphaTauri. Footballers Thibaut Courtois (Red Bull) and Cirro Immobile (AlphaTauri) joined too, with golfer Ian Poulter (Renault) also in.
Leclerc continued his strong run as he secured pole in F1 China Virtual GP with Albon alongside after penalty to Russell as Vandoorne was third with Zhou alongside him. There was technical issues for Norris again as he didn’t make the start.
Leclerc started off well with Albon behind as Zhou gained places to third as Vandoorne, Gutierrez, Deletraz, Giovinazzi, Russell, Broadbent and Correa made it the Top 10. Sainz, meanwhile, made a good start but was pushed off as he dropped behind.
The pit-stop, meanwhile, was an advantage for Albon as he got ahead of Leclerc, who stopped later than the Thai. The Monegasque, though, managed to re-take the lead with the Red Bull racer staying on his tail alongwith Vandoorne and Zhou behind.
It was a straight race then after with Leclerc making it two in a row in China F1 Virtual GP as he led Albon and Vandoorne in the Top 3 but Zhou was promoted to third after a penalty to the Belgian, which dropped him to fifth after 28 laps of racing.
Russell ended up fourth despite the penalty he had to content with after qualifying. The Top 10 was rounded out by Gutierrez in sixth, followed by Deletraz, Lawson, Latifi and Sainz – the Spaniard fighting his way up after an early spin.
Fittipladi missed on Top 10 to be 11th, with Ilott 12th, Broadbent 13th, Correa 14th, Courtois 15th, Davidson 16th, Immobile 17th and Poulter 18th, as Giovinazzi pulled out from the Virtual GP midway while Norris never made the start.
F1 ESports Exhibition Race:
The Virtual GP wasn’t the only of its kind to take place, with another ESports event put on by F1 featured only pro simulator drivers, of whom Mercedes’ Brendon Leigh qualified on pole. The format was a simple one, with a normal F1-style elimination qualifier.
It was a 14-lap race lap where Leigh took the win, as he led Frederik Rasmuthen (Red Bull) and Alvaro Carreton (Williams). The Top 10 was filled up by David Tonizza (Ferrari) in fourth, then Dani Bereznay (Alfa Romeo), Daniele Haddad (Racing Point), Enzo Bonito (Ferrari), Salih Timur S (McLaren), Cedric Thome (Racing Point) and Fabrizio Donos.
Here’s the video if you missed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f70LsCXpQ94
Here’s the Twitch streams – including F1 drivers’ – where you can watch it:
Here’s how Round 2 of F1 Virtual GP underwent
Here’s how they did in Race for the World charity
The story was co-written by Duncan Leahy