Chinese Virtual Grand Prix Highlights: Leclerc Wins Again
Chinese Virtual Grand Prix was the best of all the F1 esports events on the calendar in the last week. It was easily the closest thing to an actual Grand Prix where you watch F1 drivers fight for top spots, racecars grazing the fields beside the track and teams strategizing en route.
Charles Leclerc Back-to-back Winner
Leclerc was the winner once again in the Virtual Grand Prix series. With six F1 drivers on the list, Leclerc made his presence known only on his second race. This might come as a surprise to those who think sim racing requires years of practice. Granted he is an F1 driver, but considering the details within the simulation, Leclerc did excellently.
One of the most crucial moments of the race arrived when Leclerc and Albon got into a one vs one situation to fight for the lead. In an unpredictable state of the race, Leclerc performed a superb move over Albon to declare himself as the leader in the Virtual Grand Prix. The reason for the Leclerc masterclass is down to two main aspects of his style. One is his bold behavior and two is his top-quality technical ability. Also, he made no amateur mistakes throughout the race. His battle with Albon was really exciting for him and the F1 fans who miss watching this kind of a tie.
In these desperate times, sim racing has become more like a profession than a hobby. For drivers who kept themselves away from sim racing are now finding it important and just as thrilling as the real F1 races. With plans for a return to the paddock on hold, drivers are increasingly taking interest in sim racing while also looking at it as a mental exercise to remember the actual races.
Thibaut Courtois Impresses Alexander Albon
Leclerc was only one of the big stories following the main F1 event on Sunday. Thibaut Courtois, the Real Madrid goalkeeper, was also active in the entire race event. While most participants of the Sunday’s event were more interested in winning the race, Courtois did exceptionally as a team player. He helped his partner maintain the lead which was pretty heroic to watch. After the race finished, his partner Albon praised his performance.
It was interesting to see people from departments other than F1 racing take part in the race. Alongside Courtois on the racing grid was another footballer named Ciro Immobile. The Lazio Centre-Forward partnered the Red Bull Junior Team member Liam Lawson to drive for Scuderia AlphaTauri. Not everyone gets to be in the top ten positions let alone players who have just started sim racing.
Ian Poulter, the British golfer, has lately been a regular celebrity on these events. However, his involvement has done little to move him above the rest of the drivers in the table. Maybe if every lap could be replaced by one of his golfing achievements, he could climb up the rankings in no time. But more important than winning is the racing experience every non-racing person like Ian should appreciate.
Leclerc vs Albon
Finishing at the very top was the Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc. Sadly, his direct rival Alexander Albon could not share the first position with him even though he did offer quite a lot of competition to the leader. His overall performance in the Chinese Virtual Grand Prix was much better than in the Australian Virtual Grand Prix. Finishing in second is applaudable. The difference-maker in his opinion was that he did not crash this time as he rejoiced at his much-improved drive after the race ended. In addition to that, race events are helping the drivers keep in touch with their sport. Where other sports like football and basketball involve more than just practicing different tactics, racing is all about good driving. If you can get your driving right in sim racing, you might as well get it right in the actual races.
Most drivers expect to see themselves rise above the others or at least get better with time. Well, as one might suspect, George Russell did not look too satisfied with his driving. To add to his disappointment, the Williams’ driver finished fourth. Above George Russell in third place was Guanyu Zhou. Zhou has struggled ever since Leclerc has arrived. Pretty much every driver on the grid has struggled since Leclerc’s arrival. Maybe the best person to explain the struggle is Leclerc’s team partner Sebastian Vettel. Speaking of Vettel and Leclerc together, wouldn’t it be fun to see both of them compete in sim racing?
Lando Norris Needs Connection Stability
Lastly, Lando Norris once again lost connection to the race. Everybody thought that he was done with F1 2019 after his game crashed him out of the race last time. Well, lo and behold, he crashed out again. At this point, it is just sad to see him go down like this. For all the joy he has brought to the F1 fans during this tough time, a stable connection to the simulation should be the least of his worries.
The next venue for the Virtual Grand Prix is undecided. Interlagos and Suzuka are both exciting options for the next race. However, we shall have to wait for the official announcement about the next venue from F1 Esports.