George Russell scores an unlikely Williams win – FOS Future Lab
It’s been quite some time since Williams last occupied the top step of a Grand Prix podium. Eight years on from Pastor Maldonado’s win in Spain, George Russell has repeated the feat at the same venue – albeit in the virtual world.
Competing in this weekend’s Virtual Grand Prix at the Barcelona circuit, Russell started from pole position, but almost immediately lost out to the Mercedes of Esteban Gutiérrez, Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari, Alex Albon’s Red Bull and his own teammate Nicholas Latifi. For a while the race looked like being a repeat of last weekend’s Albon/Leclerc masterclass, but Russell worked his way back into contention.
A slightly different pit strategy put Albon out of the picture, leaving the race between the Williams and the Ferrari. Thanks to a creative interpretation of the final chicane, Russell picked up a three-second track limits penalty that looked to have gifted the win to Leclerc, only for the Monegasque to receive the very same penalty.
Elsewhere, Jenson Button was again proving hard to beat in the All-Stars Legends Trophy. Qualifying on pole for the first race at Portugal’s Estoril, Button got a clean start and vanished up the road ahead of championship rival Emanuele Pirro.
However the second race, with the reverse grid, proved less fruitful for the Briton, who ended up flipping the Brabham BT44B after tangling with Pirro and Montoya. Petter Solberg took the honours, by a huge margin, again from Pirro, with Button an impressive fourth. That left the Italian leading the championship going into the next round.
Audi dominated the SRO E-Sports GT event at Spa-Francorchamps, with wins in both the Pro and Silver categories. The brand managed a 1-2 in the hands of the Pro drivers, with Lorenzo Marcucci taking the win from Audi GT3 racer Ivan Pareras. The Silver class, for sim racers, also saw an Italian driver winning with the German marque, as Andrea Capoccia won from the Lexus of Hany Alsabti.
NASCAR had its final weekend before resuming in the real world next Sunday. The virtual series took advantage of the virtual world to head to the closed 1km oval at North Wilkesboro – specifically captured for iRacing courtesy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Neither Earnhardt nor Jeff Gordon, who won the last race at NWS in 1996, could take the win though, with that honour falling to Denny Hamlin. Hamlin also won the first race of the series seven weeks back at Miami.
The longest winning streak in pro driver esports came to end on Saturday, as Maximilian Guenther couldn’t repeat his win from the pre-season race at the Monaco ePrix circuit. The BMW driver came home third, with Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein taking the lights-to-flag win and Stoffel Vandoorne in second.
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