February 4, 2021 | News | No Comments
Haas’ Enzo Fittipaldi triumphed in the first round of the 2021 Virtual GP series, emerging victorious from a fierce battle in the closing stages with Ferrari’s Arthur Leclerc.
Staged at the Red Bull Ring, the blend of real-life drivers, sim racers and invited guests lined up on the grid where positions had been determined by the results of an earlier five-lap sprint race contested by pro sim racers and won by 2019 F1 Esports champion David Tonizza.
The Italian’s performance transferred to a pole position for Marcus Armstrong, with the Briton flanked by Mercedes’ Anthony Davidson on the front row, the pair leading Leclerc and Red Bull’s Alex Albon positioned on the second row.
Pre-race favourite George Russell was conspicuously absent from the proceedings, the Williams charger being replaced alongside Nicholas Latifi by YouTuber Flowstreet.
Armstrong led the field off the grid but Leclerc overhauled his team on the second lap, while a technical glitch had forced Albon to start the 36-lap race from the back of the grid.
Leclerc held his own up front through the mandatory pit stop rotations, but an undercut by Fittipaldi put him up into second and hot on the heels of the leader.
A raging battle ensued but Leclerc was hit was three-second time penalty for exceeding track limits, an error that sealed the Monegasque’s fate. The latter battled on however but so did Fittipaldi who executed a clean overtake up the inside of his rival at Turn 3.
A strong late charge from Stoffel Vandoorne allowed the Mercedes driver to claim third on the track but second overall as he edged the penalized Leclerc.
A solid run by Albon pushed the Red Bull reserve driver up to fourth while Armstrong rounded off the top five.
The second round of F1’s Virtual GP series at Silverstone where teams will once again compete for a share of the prize money that will be donated to each team’s designated charity.
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter