The final F1 Esports event of the year is this week, and it is between five contenders: Lucas Blakeley, Thomas Ronhaar, Bari Boroumand, Frederik Rasmussen and Jarno Opmeer. Who will come out on top?
If last year’s title fight was the greatest anyone thought it could get for F1 Esports, then they were very, very wrong. 2022 has truly been the closest season of the F1 Esports Pro Championship yet, with five drivers within 22 points of each other. Alfa Romeo’s Nicolas Longuet may be within the threshold to be in mathematical contention, but realistically it’s down to five.
With the grand final of the F1 Esports Pro Championship season happening this week, the last races are on the Suzuka, Interlagos and Yas Marina circuits. Who will be victorious after the chequered flag falls in that final race? Let’s run by the contenders and how their seasons have gone so far.
Lucas Blakeley: Superb Scot
First up is leader Lucas Blakeley, who has a relatively healthy but hardly insurmountable lead of 11 points from his nearest rival. Having raced for Racing Point/Aston Martin since the start of his F1 Esports journey, he joined the championship battle in 2021. He won the season opener and took another win which put him just a few points shy of the lead heading into the finale. That time around though, he was eliminated from contention before the last race.
Read More: Blakeley: “Brutal Honesty” Key to McLaren Success
But in 2022, he’s now the one in the prime seat and it’s easy to see why. He moved to McLaren, and after the first event which consisted of two wins and a third, many believed it was a done deal. He since got a third win but has only finished fourth, seventh and three sixth place finishes aside from that, allowing his rivals to catch up. Not ideal but he still leads, and will hope he can hold on until the end.
Thomas Ronhaar: Rookie Sensation
Next up is the driver in second place, who perhaps unexpectedly to many shot to stardom this year. Ronhaar turned up at the Pro Exhibition after qualifying through the Time Trial competition, which he won, earning him a drive with Haas. He wasted no time making an impression as he took pole position in only his second outing, then bagged himself two hard-fought victories.
Read more: Ronhaar: First Pole was “Absolutely Amazing”
Ronhaar’s season has only been marred by the retirement in the opening race, after he was involved in an incident with Rasmussen. He was a net P4 at that point, which would given him the exact number of points to be one point ahead of Blakeley. It proves that every point matters in this game. With momentum on his side, can Ronhaar win in his rookie season like David Tonizza did in 2019?
Bari Boroumand: Tough Teammate
Next is the other McLaren driver, who together with Blakeley have undoubtedly all but officially wrapped up the team’s title for them. Bari Boroumand’s contention for the F1 Esports crown has come as an expected one, becoming a full time driver only last year after doing one race with Mercedes. With McLaren, he grabbed a couple of poles and podiums but that first win didn’t come.
He finally got it this season in the Spa race, and a further four podiums has put him only 14 points behind his teammate. As the only pair of teammates in the title fight, it will be interesting to see how both McLaren drivers will approach the races since they both want the crown. Boroumand will certainly not relent, as no competitor can be sure when the next opportunity to win a championship will come.
Frederik Rasmussen: Finally the Bride?
In all seasons of F1 Esports since the second season, only one driver has always been part of the conversation for the championship. Brendon Leigh won in 2018, David Tonizza won in 2019 and Jarno Opmeer has won the last two years. Just behind all of them was Frederik Rasmussen. The Red Bull driver would have hoped this was finally his year, but goes into the finale 17 points back. He has just one win in 2022, but plenty of podiums to garnish it.
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Typically an ice cool and collected character, this year there has produced the occasional moment of frustration for the Dane. In his only non points score of the season, he made a very questionable move on Ronhaar which gave him a grid drop for the following race. It may be an outside chance but is Rasmussen finally going to get that F1 Esports title that has eluded him for so long?
Jarno Opmeer: Comeback King
Last but not least; the champion of the past two seasons, who many had been counting out. It’s no secret that Opmeer hasn’t taken to F1 22 as well as many of his rivals. But, even some early eliminations from qualifying couldn’t stop the Dutch driver. He’s had two non-scores, with one courtesy of an incident, while the other came as a result of failing to recover from a lowly qualifying spot.
Read more: Jarno Opmeer: The Fastest F1 Esports Driver in the World
But, in the last two races, he reignited his title fight with a dominant display on the Mexico City track, and then coming out on top in a mega four-way battle on the Circuit of the Americas. He may be the outside contender, but a 22 point margin is far from an impossible deficit, and if anyone has proven capable of overcoming the biggest of obstacles, it’s Opmeer.
Follow The Action!
All three qualifying sessions and races will be streamed to F1’s official Twitch and YouTube channels as always. 14 December sees the drivers tackling Suzuka, with qualifying at 3:00pm CET and the race at 6:30pm CET. The Interlagos and Yas Marina races are on 15 December and 16 December, with qualifying at 4:30pm CET and the races at 8:30pm CET.
Plus, for all avid F1 game league racing fans, a familiar voice is back. Our September 2021 Hero of the Month George Morgan returns after filling in for the Imola race back at the start of the season, and his voice will be the one you hear when the champion is crowned.
Who do you believe will become 2022 F1 Esports champion? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!