An astonishing back-to-back victory for Russell while his competitors struggle with crashes.
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British Williams driver George Russell takes home his second Virtual Grand Prix victory in a row. On May 10, he already won the Virtual Spain GP and his winning streak continued at the Monaco GP on Sunday – in a completely dominating way.
Russell finished the GP with a lead of astonishing +39.017 seconds, before runner-up Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes) crossed the finishing line. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) got to the podium as, with +14.999 seconds behind Gutierrez.
The reigning champion Russell is also an avid Twitch streamer and broadcasted his point of view of the Grand Prix. Streaming for esports racers seems to be quite a technical challenge, as seen on Russell’s stream. He showed his entire setup which includes several computers and cameras.
Racing newcomers and established celebrities joined the race
The top three placements of the Virtual GP went once again to Formula 1 stars who turned to esports racing. But the list of participants featured a lot more well-known names.
Celebrities from all across other traditional sports took part. FC Arsenal’s striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined forces with Lando Norris and drove the race for McLaren. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois completed his third professional esports racing event. Surfing legend Kai Lenny attended the race under the flag of Red Bull, together with team-mate Alex Albons.
But also more and more Formula 1 racers open up to the world of esports racing. David Schumacher who got the fastest times in the qualifiers trailed behind at the main event. He finished on tenth place. Valtteri Bottas gave his debut in esports racing and made it to an impressive seventh place in the qualifiers. However, he also had problems at the main race and missed the top ten.
Bottas however was at least able to show his potential. Esteban Ocon was supposed to give his debut as well, but his first competitive esports experience came to a quick stop. After mediocre results in the qualifiers, he did not participate in the main race.
Not a fair race?
While Russell drove peacefully ahead of everyone else behind him, the rest of the track turned into a battlefield. Since the Monaco circuit is quite narrow and leads right through downtown, the damage system was deactivated. For several drivers, the indestructibility was a welcome invitation to cause shenanigans.
Not only did some drivers deliberately crash into their opponents, some simply ploughed their way through the competition without any major consequences. Some also abused the limitations of the racetrack which no longer caused damage to overtake the other drivers.
The reckless driving style wasn’t being tolerated. All drivers received time punishments, except for Russell who took a clean victory, and Louis Deletraz. Not everyone in the community was happy about the destructive driving, as their opinion on Twitter shows.
The next and final Virtual Grand Prix will be the Virtual Azerbaijan GP on June 7 at 19:00 GMT+2. You can watch all Virtual Grand Prix races on the official YouTube channel of Formula 1.