Mercedes driver Vandoorne led Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein by a single point going into the weekend’s double-header, but was soon on the back foot. Wehrlein snatched pole position at the Brooklyn street circuit to level up the championship, before going on to win the race – while Vandoorne could only place fourth. That gave the German his third race win in seven events, and a handsome points advantage, but the final race of the season at Berlin was to be a double-points affair.
As Oliver Rowland – who also won the previous race at Berlin, albeit more controversially thanks to interference from an ineligible driver – sprinted away from the start, Vandoorne and Wehrlein were side-by-side through the first corner. However Sebastien Buemi appeared to get a mild hit in turn two, which sent him into Vandoorne and he cannoned into Wehrlein.
That left the German languishing in 21st place, and he’d later get an additional penalty for reversing up the straight while trying to recover his car. Rowland took the race victory, again, with Vandoorne’s second place good enough to claim the title thanks to the double points.
The accompanying sim race challenge saw Slovenian driver Kevin Siggy Rebernak dominate yet again, to take his fifth win of the season. That will earn him a real-world Formula E test.
Also dominating events was Williams driver George Russell, who is proving unbeatable in F1 sim racing. The Brit took his third straight win at the official F1 Virtual Grand Prix series, with a lights-to-flag victory at a digital version of the Baku street circuit in Azerbaijan, in a field boasting eight current F1 drivers.
Russell cruised home four seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon, stretching to seven seconds thanks to a time penalty, with Mercedes test driver Esteban Gutierrez in third from Lando Norris’s McLaren.
Fernando Alonso also continued to prove his sim racing ability with an extraordinary fifth straight win in the All Star Series Legends Trophy, before finally tasting defeat. The series officially concluded last weekend, but is now running a special “Triple Crown” event, visiting the venues of the motorsport triple crown over the next three weeks.
First up was Monaco, a track at which Alonso – one of two active racing drivers to have achieved two parts of the real-world triple crown – has won twice. The Spaniard duly secured pole position and, but for an interesting move from Helio Castroneves in the first turn, wasn’t really challenged as he charged to another win – by over ten seconds from Juan Pablo Montoya, the other active racing driver with two parts of the real-world triple crown.
The reverse grid race didn’t go Alonso’s way however, with Monaco proving a harder track at which to overtake than Silverstone or Indianapolis in the virtual world too. It was Guernsey’s Andy Priaulx who took the honours this time, ahead of Montoya and Alonso.
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