The fourth weekend of All-Star ESports Battle and Veloce Pro Race had plenty of action with multiple races as F1 returned with Virtual GP.
All-Star ESports Battle:
The All-Star ESports Battle was back on Saturday, with another star-studded entry list including Stoffel Vandoorne, Rudy van Buren, Luca Ghiotto, Kevin Siggy, Bono Huis, Billy Monger, Abbie Eaton, Stefan Wilson and countless others for its main race .
And, that’s excluding the equally dazzling list enjoyed by the site’s Legend Trophy, of which the first race was won by Jan Magnussen, and the second, Rubens Barrichello. In race one at the NOLA circuit, Magnussen was trailed by Andy Priaulx, and Dario Franchitti.
The second and third-place finishers at the ex-IndyCar track in Race 2 were Emanuele Pirro and Tiago Monteiro. In the main All-Star ESports Battle – at the same venue – Siggy led Simoncic from pole, and the majority of the grid held their respective starting positions.
Siggy held first place with ease, but roughly a second and a half behind, there was a three-way battle for second. First, it was Huis who challenged Simoncic, but as the Frenchman lost touch, Van Buren became the antagonist in the fight.
Van Buren’s attempts were futile, but the battle allowed Huis to catch up once again and dive down the inside of them both to take the position. Even when Simoncic spun, though, van Buren had to take evasive action and was therefore overtaken by Jajovski.
The Dutchman then divebombed on Jajojvski to get back to third, where he would then finish, trailing Huis and Siggy. Jajovski was fourth, ahead of five real-world racers who rounded out the Top 10, trailing the pro sim racers.
It was Mike Epps, followed by Stoffel Vandoorne, Luca Ghiotto, Charlie Eastwood and Bradley Smith. Ed Jones came 12th, leading Esteban Guttierez (14th), Sean Galael (16th) and Juan Manueal Correa (17th) to round out All-Star ESports Battle.
Meanwhile, the Veloce ESports Pro Race ran with yet another twist. This time, they had a head-to-head set up, in which they pitted drivers, including Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi, Aarava, Ian Poulter, Benjamin Daly, and others.
The races were one lap a pop at Interlagos, and the first bracket had David Schumacher (Ferrari) and Benjamin Daly (McLaren) as the Youtuber beat the German in the duel. The second was more unorthodox, as it was Archie Hamilton (Mercedes) vs. music producer Chris Lake (Ferrari).
Understandably, Lake went off at turn one and was out of contention from the very start of the one-lap event. After this, it was Aarava (Ferrari) vs. professional golfer Ian Poulter (Mercedes). The Ferrari racer got away well, and extended his lead further after Poulter lost the rear end, and hit the wall early on.
The fourth ‘versus’ event was the first of its kind, as it pitted two real-world drivers Latifi (Williams) and Artem Markelov (Mercedes) against each other. The two were neck-and-neck initially, but it fell apart for the Russian after he spun and hit the wall.
At this point, Norris (McLaren) and Sacha Fenestraz (Mercedes) fought, and of the races, this was arguably the most competitive, as the two of them were side-by-side for almost the whole race, until Norris took the lead in the final sector.
The sixth short race had popular non-F1 Youtuber WillNE (McLaren) and W Series champion Jamie Chadwick (Williams) pitted against each other, and to the surprise of many, the former was victorious after he got the lead at the start as Chadwick spun behind.
The second to last race of the 16-driver round involved Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes) and Real Madrid goalie Thibaut Courtois (McLaren). Gutierrez had the better first sector, but Courtois was never far behind, until he hit the wall in the latter half of the lap.
Another driver vs non-driver was next, as Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes) and Jay Pietsmet (Red Bull) went against each other. Jay got the better start, but after that the Belgian was much faster through the Senna S to win it.
With the ‘Round of 16’ behind them, the remaining eight people progressed to the ESports quarter finals which took place at Monza. The first of these was an all-Youtuber battle which had Daly (Mercedes) and Hamilton (Ferrari).
Daly flew away off the line, and quickly had a gap of almost four seconds. He was so dominant, in fact, that the Mercedes racer intentionally weaved on the final straight and still maintained his lead to win the duel.
The second race had Aarava (Ferrari) and Latifi (Williams). The Canadian had the better start, and despite an attempt from the F1 Youtuber to overtake at Parabolica, the F1 driver won. Race three was McLaren vs. McLaren, with Norris and WillNE.
WillNE looked like the winner, until Norris drove down the in inside at the Ascari chicane. The fourth event was once again a one-team fight, as Mercedes Formula E driver Vandoorne fought with Gutierrez.
The Mexican got ahead at the start, but Vandoorne overtook Gutierrez at Parabolica, hitting him into a spin along the way. However, the Belgian was disqualified for the move and so the Mexican was granted the win.
The semi-finals of Veloce ESports took place at Suzuka. In the first race, it Daly (Mercedes) took on Latifi (Williams). Both spun at the first sector, but the Mercedes racer won regardless. However, both were given another chance in a second race, due to the fact that the roots are best of three in the semi finals.
Daly once again led from the start in Race 2, but after a lockup in the final chicane, Latifi went through to take the win. For the next race, the Youtuber led from the start and a spin from the Canadian sealed Daly’s victory.
The next battle was set in motion between Norris (McLaren) and Gutierrez (Mercedes), and while they were side-to-side at first in race one, the Brit went off the track and fell far behind to lose out. In race two, they coincidentally swapped cars, as the Brit moved to the Mercedes and Gutierrez hopped into the McLaren.
Norris led off the line, and, like the Mexican did in race one, the Brit kept it until the end. In race three, both were in Mercedes’ and despite Gutierrez crashing him out, it was Norris who won due to penalties given to the Mexican.
For the final, it was Norris and Daly going up against each other at Spa-Francorchamps, and both the F1 driver and the Youtuber were in a McLaren. The duo switched positions with their wheels locked, but after they made contact, the Brit hit the wall and lost race one.
Race two was led by Norris off the line, but after he ran wide at turn one, he lost that position. Over the rest of the lap, he was playing catch-up, but at the Bus Stop chicane he spun. It looked like all was lost for him, but Daly let him win in hopes of moving on to a third deciding race.
In the aforementioned third race, Norris got the better start, but was passed by Daly on the Kemmel Straight. The sophomore F1 driver finally got down the inside of Daly at the Bus Stop chicane, and from there he won the drag race to the line.
Here’s the Veloce Not the… Versus event:
Here’s the Week 3 recap of All-Star ESports Battle and Veloce Pro Series
The article was edited by Darshan Chokhani