Russell dominates virtual Monaco GP, Leclerc in Gutierrez clash
Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell dominated the latest Virtual Grand Prix at Monaco to take his second successive win in the series by 39 seconds.
Russell, who beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to take his maiden Virtual GP win last time out at Catalunya, qualified second in the first wet qualifying of the season.
FIA Formula 3 driver David Schumacher – son of six-time F1 grand prix winner Ralf – took his maiden pole position with a lap time four-tenths quicker than Russell’s fastest attempt.
2018 Formula 2 champion Russell was able to jump Schumacher on the run to the first corner on the opening lap to take the race lead.
Russell, who has never scored a point in Monaco in either F1 or F2, was one of the last drivers to make his one mandatory pitstop and he emerged in the race lead and took the chequered flag first by 39.017s. Second place was contested between two-time Virtual GP winner Leclerc and Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez.
Leclerc was in a seemingly comfortable second place until he was quickly caught by the two-stopping Gutierrez. The duo collided with less than three laps to go on the exit of the tunnel.
Leclerc was sent spinning down to third place while Gutierrez earned his best result in the series in second place. Third place marked Leclerc’s fifth consecutive podium finish, with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon charging from ninth on the grid to fourth place.
Albon recovered from a spin early in the race when he tangled with Gutierrez on the run to the tight left-hander at Tabac. Leclerc’s younger brother Arthur took fifth place in the sister virtual Ferrari ahead of Haas F1 reserve Pietro Fittipaldi and McLaren ace Lando Norris.
Russell’s team-mate Nicholas Latifi was the last driver on the lead lap in eighth place with Louis Deletraz, winner of the supporting F2-race, and polesitter Schumacher rounding out the top 10.
Virtual GP debutant Valtteri Bottas had a baptism of fire in the series after he was spun down to last place on the opening lap after a clash with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi. Bottas, who started the race from a respectable seventh place recovered from the incident to finish in 11th place.
Fellow newcomer Esteban Ocon qualified in a dismal 17th place and failed to start the race.
Ex-F1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi was disqualified from the race with five laps to go after amassing too many corner-cutting penalties.
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