Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix: George Russell secures victory in Silverstone
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George Russell wins Silverstone virtual GP
Hindered by a three-second penalty for breaching track limits, Alexander Albon won the race on-track but Russell snatched the win from the Red Bull reserve driver after the penalty was added on.
Marcel Kiefer, Red Bull esports, may have taken pole position for the sprint race, but Brendon Leigh, Ferrari, fought back in the last laps to secure Callum Ilott‘s pole position for the feature race.
Theamusante, YouTuber and Sim Racer, joined other racers in the feature race as the only woman to compete in this event promoting diversity and equality in the sport.
Following the three-event competitions new format, Kiefer lined up on pole position at the start of the five-lap sprint race.
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 7, 2021
When the lights went out, Kiefer managed to maintain his lead as the pack curled around the first corner.
However, Floris Wijers, Haas, made contact into the tight third turn, Village, and was sent tumbling down the table – which prompted a race of damage limitation.
By the end of the Wellington Straight, everything seemed to settle down as Kiefer ended the first lap followed by Leigh and Alessio Di Capua, Williams.
In the dying laps of the very short race, Leigh finally made an attempt to steal away the lead from Kiefer as the Briton took the inside line into Brooklands (turn five) and managed to get ahead as the two drivers drove towards Woodcote.
Despite Kiefer’s best attempts to frighten Leigh into making a mistake or defensive action, the Ferrari esports driver crossed the line first to promote Formula Two driver, Ilott into pole position for the main event.
— Formula 1® Game (@Formula1game) February 7, 2021
Once lights went out, Ilott maintained his first position place into the first turn but as the pack arrived to Village Ben Daly, content creator, McLaren, was slapped with some contact that left him tumbling down the order.
As the pack cleanly circled around towards Maggots and Becketts, Albon became under pressure by, Alfa Romeo, Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid goalkeeper and ultimately lost his place to the footballer into Maggots.
Ilott, who started to edge out his gap crossed the line first to end the first lap. However, into The Loop (turn four), Courtois was forced to defend from Albon.
While the footballer was able to successfully maintain his position, Russell – who was behind the Red Bull driver – picked up the scraps and picked off the Red Bull into the Wellington straight to take P3 on lap two.
By the third lap, Courtois then became under fire from Russell who got a better exit out of Luffield and snatched P2 away from the Real Madrid ‘keeper.
Almost a clean sheet for @thibautcourtois… but two got past him 😉@GeorgeRussell63 and @alex_albon put the moves on the Belgium keeper in the early stages of the Virtual British Grand Prix!#VirtualGP 🎮 #F1 pic.twitter.com/HB46PaEnHT
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 7, 2021
Despite falling down the pack in the opening lap, Daly managed to recover well as he climbed back up to P7 by lap five.
Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas) and Courtois pitted on the eighth lap to swap their soft compound tyres for mediums.
While Ilott pitted two laps later, Albon found his opportunity to take the lead of the race on the alternate strategy (starting with mediums) as he overtook Russell into Stowe (turn 15).
On lap 13, Albon obtained a three-second time penalty and made a very early call to pit.
He swapped his medium compound tyres for the aggressive and quicker softs as the London-born driver opted to go with a very aggressive strategy.
Russell reacted the following lap as he also pitted and put on the soft compounds but fell back to third – behind Albon and Ilott – after leading into the pits.
By lap 16, Albon had finally caught up to the race leader, Ilott – who was on the medium compounds after his mandatory tyre change and overtook the F2 driver into The Loop, this handed Albon the lead as they entered the Wellington Straight.
No one:@GeorgeRussell63's car with four corners to go: ⛽️⛽️‼️‼️
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 8, 2021
Two laps later, Ilott then came under pressure by the F1 Williams driver into The Loop and Aintree.
With quicker tyres and better traction onto the Wellington Straight, Russell picked off the F2 driver on his charge for Albon.
In the last laps of the race, Russell – who had no penalties to his name – got a better exit into the Hangar straight and managed to overtake Albon for P1, with the assist from the Drag Reduction System (DRS).
Despite already having the net race win due to Albon’s three-second penalty.
Albon was able to retaliate just before the race came to an end as the Red Bull overtook Russell into Stowe.
But, he wasn’t able to gain a three-second gap between himself and the Williams and crossed the line first – but the victory fell to Russell.
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