George Russell

Esports round-up: Russell wins for Williams as Wehrlein ends Guenther streak

George Russell was left celebrating his maiden Esports victory in the official F1 event after a late penalty for Charles Leclerc for track limits abuse handed the Williams driver the win.

Russell also started from pole position but had to fight back after Esteban Gutierrez got the better start to sweep past and into the lead at the virtual Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona before Leclerc repaid the compliment around the outside of Turn 1. It left Russell with work to do, the Englishman first overtaking Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi before getting back past Gutierrez and setting about leader Leclerc, as Alexander Albon’s two-stop strategy dropped him from contention.

After his own pitstop, Russell’s charge for victory looked to have taken a turn for the worse when he picked up a three-second time penalty for corner cutting. But with Leclerc hot on his heels, the Ferrari driver then picked up a penalty of his own, allowing the Williams man to take victory.

Despite his penalty, Leclerc held on for second ahead of Gutierrez, Albon and Latifi. Sky Sports F1 pundit and former F1 driver Anthony Davidson was sixth as Real Madrid goalkeeper won the battle of the footballers, finishing a creditable 12th, two places ahead of Manchester City star, Sergio Aguero.

Leclerc was also second in the Veloce Esports #NotTheGP event in race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps, although things didn’t entirely go smoothly in the reverse grid race, the Monegasque crashing out whilst in close pursuit of Latifi!

A day earlier saw Pascal Wehrlein end Maximilian Guenther’s winning streak in the Formula E Race at Home Challenge Esports series around the streets of Monaco, the Mahindra driver holding off Esports aficionado Stoffel Vandoorne and Guenther, who had triumphed in both previous rounds.

Wehrlein also ended Vandoorne’s run of consecutive pole positions, and the Belgian was lucky to escape significant damage after contact with Edoardo Mortara into the second corner as carnage ensued behind with a multiple pile-up involving Mortara’s Venturi, Jean-Eric Vergne and Mitch Evans.

It meant that Neel Jani climbed from seventh on the grid to finish in fourth, ahead of Robin Frijns, Oliver Rowland, Andre Lotterer and the Dragon of Nico Mueller. Ma Qinghua was ninth for the NIO 333 team as Mortara scrambled home tenth to round out the points-scoring finishers.

“The start was very important and I’m not sure what happened behind but I saw there was a crash,” said Wehrlein. “After that I had a small gap and I just worked to keep the pace. In the end I was a bit quicker but for me it was quite a straightforward race. It’s nice to take the win for Mahindra Racing in Monaco and get a full points haul!”

Motorsport Technology