Verstappen survives last-lap contact to sweep Redline pro event
Max Verstappen survived contact on the final lap to take a clean sweep of race wins in the latest round of Team Redline’s Esports series for professional racing drivers.
Championship leader Verstappen won three of the first four races in Redline’s Real Racers Never Quit series but struggled for pace in the previous round in Supercars where he finished the races in fifth and 10th place.
The latest round featured 2017-spec European Formula 3 cars racing around Road America. Last time those cars were used, Verstappen and McLaren F1 driver Norris collided while fighting for the lead.
Eight-time grand prix winner Verstappen, who made his car racing debut in Euro F3 in 2014, dominated the first of two races from pole position.
Norris started that first race from second place but dropped behind both of the van der Linde brothers. However, he was able to take the final place on the podium after BMW DTM driver Sheldon spun out of second place at the final corner on the penultimate lap. Audi factory GT driver Kelvin van der Linde took second place, over two seconds behind race winner Verstappen.
The second race provided greater competition for Verstappen. DTM race winner Daniel Juncadella took a surprise pole position by nearly two-tenths ahead of Verstappen and Norris.
On the second lap, Juncadella outbraked himself and ran wide onto the grass allowing Verstappen through. Norris also capitalised and slip-streamed his way past Verstappen into the race lead just moments later.
Norris then threw it away at the final corner, making an identical error to Sheldon's in the first race, spinning out of the top 10.
This left a two-horse race between new race leader Verstappen and Juncadella. The latter made marginal gains into Verstappen’s lead, but a penultimate lap mistake from Verstappen allowed Juncadella to close within striking distance.
On the long run to Canada Corner, Juncadella jinked his car to the right-hand side of the track but collided with Verstappen and lifted two wheels into the air.
Juncadella landed safely back in second place, but it was enough to ensure Verstappen took his second double-win in the series. Kelvin earned his fourth successive podium in third.
2009 F1 champion Jenson Button attempted to make his sim racing debut, but managed just two laps in the opening race and failed to start the second race.
Verstappen leads the points standings after four rounds with an increased advantage of 118 points over Kelvin.
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