F1 started the ESports Virtual Grand Prix Series this weekend with Bahrain GP – won by Guanyu Zhou – on the 2019 game and a full grid of 10 teams.
Even though they had the 10 F1 teams on the 2019 game, with AlphaTauri running as Toro Rosso, the grid did not have the 2020 drivers for the first ESports Virtual Grand Prix Series race this weekend, where they ran the Bahrain GP.
Only McLaren’s Lando Norris and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi were the current F1 drivers racing, while it had former runners like Nico Hulkenberg (Racing Point), Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes), Johnny Herbert (Alfa Romeo) and Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes).
Among other real racers, it had Anthony Davidson (Haas), Robert Shwartzman (Ferrari), Dino Beganovic (Ferrari), Philipp Eng (Red Bull), Nicolas Hamilton (McLaren), Luca Salvadori (AlphaTauri) and Guanyu Zhou (Renault).
Former One Direction member Liam Payne (Williams) was in along with Sir Chris Hoy (Red Bull) and Ian Poulter (Renault), while the others were all ESports racers. Since the event was held at a very late, there were some issues as the race was trimmed to 14 laps.
It was due to run as 28 while presenters and commentators anchored the race from Gfinity Arena. Eng took pole from Gutierrez and Zhou, while Hulkenberg was fourth ahead of Latifi. It was no-show for Norris, though, as he lined-up 19th after technical issues.
The ESports race start had chaos with multiple hits but Herbert led the way early on as he moved up from 16th to first – although he was penalised for cutting a corner. After multiple changes and pit stops, Zhou settled in the lead to eventually take the win.
The Renault F1 junior was declared the inaugural Virtual Grand Prix Series winner for Bahrain GP as Vandoorne ended up second after taking over Eng, who rounded out the podium, while the fourth place battle saw Racing Point’s Jimmy Broadbent take it.
He went on with Norris on the final lap and it looked like a superb fight back from the British F1 racer until the final corner where he was bumped out by Broadbent. Norris was fifth ahead of the other of his current rival, Latifi.
Salvadori ended up seventh from Haas’ Paul Chaloner (Redeye) as Beganovic was ninth from Gutierrez who snatched 10th from Hulkenberg on the final lap. Among others, Herbet was 13th with Hamilton 14th, Poulter 15th, Hoy 16th and Payne 17th (+1 lap).
Here’s the full video of the F1 ESports Virtual Grand Prix:
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