Russell takes sixth consecutive virtual GP win | FOS Future Lab
Williams F1 driver George Russell has once again proven unbeatable in the digital world to take his sixth straight Virtual Grand Prix win.
Having missed the first of the three VGP races this year, Russell returned for the Silverstone round last weekend and won from fifth on the grid, to continue his unbeaten run stretching back to last year’s event. Starting from 14th this weekend at Interlagos, courtesy of Alvaro Carreton’s sprint race result, it looked unlikely that he’d continue that form. However the race complexion changed completely at turn one. Ferrari’s Artur Leclerc beat French comedian Arnaud Tsamere’s Renault into the first turn, only to be completely taken out by the other Williams of YouTuber Alejandro “Flowstreet” Lopez. That created an enormous traffic jam which only Dino Beganovic in the second Ferrari, Tsamere, and Russell escaped from unscathed.
With the advantage of the soft tyre early in the race, Russell was quickly past and built an advantage of over two seconds before Enzo Fittipaldi in the Haas could slip past Beganovic into second. By the time Russell’s pit stop came, the lead was over six seconds, and he emerged in fifth, ahead of the recovering Leclerc. As other drivers pitted, Russell shuffled back to the head of the pack, with close to seven seconds’ lead over Fittipaldi. The expected second half fightback never came. Despite having the softer tyres for the closing stages, Fittipaldi could barely make a dent in Russell’s lead, and the British driver won by a clear five seconds. Alex Albon rounded off the podium, with a third-place finish – despite his customary track limits penalties.
However the second-place finish was enough for Fittipaldi to claim the overall bragging rights, with 53 points across the three races putting him two clear of Russell’s 51. In addition, the Haas team – consisting of Enzo and his brother Pietro Fittipaldi – took the overall championship, winning the largest share of the $100,000 prize pot for its nominated charity, Grand Prix Trust. All nine participating teams also get a share of the fund for their charities.
In the Formula E Accelerate series, Erhan Jajovski’s domination so far this season came to an end with a fourth-place finish at the Berlin ePrix. For the third successive race though it was the man on pole who took the win, this time falling to Slovenia’s Kevin Siggy Rebernak.
Siggy kept his advantage at the start from Frederick Rasmussen, and Bono Huis in third, but elected to take a very early “attack mode” lap. Unusually, the layout of the Berlin circuit’s causes this joker lap to lose time for the drivers initially, due to the wide line needed to activate it, despite also giving a 35kW boost. Rasmussen duly passed for the lead, but couldn’t prevent Siggy making the power advantage count down the main straight.
The duo kept station all the way to the finish, but the drama centred on the final podium spot. Huis and Graham Carroll had been scrapping all race long for third place, but dramatically miscalculated their battery usage, falling one lap short. The leaders starting their final lap with seven seconds remaining on the clock, and both Carroll and Huis ran out as they crossed the finish on the penultimate lap. That promoted Petar Brljak into the podium spot, to make a BMW 1-3, with Jajovski just behind. Jajovski retains the championship lead, but it’s now down to nine points from Siggy.
Porsche Esports Carrera Cup GB had a flyaway round this week, with the competitors racing at the full Le Mans 24 Hour circuit – unusually for just a single, 11-lap race.
Kevin Ellis took pole position for the race, with a 4-minute 2.9-second lap time around the 8.47-mile track putting him just ahead of team-mate Jamie Fluke, with Red Bull duo Sebastian Job and Graham Carroll forming the second row.
Job immediately set about splitting the front row, and got himself up into second place by the Esses on the first lap. However, with 45 minutes between the cars and the finish line, nobody was willing to show their hand just yet as the race essentially became a battle for the slipstream down the circuit’s famous huge straights. The front nine cars managed to break away as a fairly cohesive pack, shuffling positions down each straight but not taking risks.
Predictably, the race exploded into life on the last lap, and at the slowest corner on track: Arnage. Having just negotiated Indianapolis almost three wide, Job and Fluke came into contact on the apex of Arnage. Job seemed to take a shallow line through the corner, cutting across the nose of Fluke’s car which also appeared to brake late, spinning both – with Fluke helped round by Carroll, who could do nothing to avoid it – and partly blocking Ellis’s route through. This parting of the waves allowed Carroll to take the lead, and he’d run to the finish line unopposed for his first win of the season – in a double-points race. Ellis kept second, with Bart Horsten picking up the final podium spot.
Pending a steward’s investigation into that final lap incident, Job still leads the championship from Ellis and Carroll behind him, but with six races remaining it’s a far smaller advantage than before.
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