Another action-packed weekend of Esports racing yet again thrilled and entertained fans of the sport in equal measure as George Russell romped home to win the Virtual Monaco Grand Prix.
On the day that was originally intended to see racing proper around the streets of Monte Carlo, Russell beat Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez to the chequered flag by a massive 39 seconds after getting the jump on pole-sitter David Schumacher at the start.
From then on, Russell was never put under any serious pressure and cruised home on his one-stop strategy to win from Gutierrez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, after a coming together between the pair saw the Monegasque come off the worse on the tunnel exit with three laps to go.
🏆 GEEOOORGEEEEEEE RUSSELL WINS 🏆
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 24, 2020
Alexander Albon produced another brilliant drive to come home in fourth from his starting position of ninth on the grid, ahead of Arthur Leclerc, Haas F1 reserve Pietro Fittipaldi and McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Russell’s team-mate Nicholas Latifi was eighth ahead of Louis Deletraz, Schumacher rounding off the top ten finishers ahead of Esports debutant Valtteri Bottas, who recovered well after an early collision with Antonio Giovinazzi sent him to the back of the field.
If Russell’s victory in Monaco was relatively straightforward, Fernando Alonso had to do things the hard way to edge out old rival Jenson Button in a thrilling finish to win the opening Indianapolis heat of The Race Legends Trophy.
After breaking clear of the pack behind, Alonso and Button consistently passed one another for the lead until the Spaniard breezed past through Turn 4 and resisted the Briton’s late attempt to pass at the flag to take the victory, former Stewart F1 driver Jan Magnussen coming home in third ahead of Tiago Monteiro and IndyCar veteran Tony Kanaan.
What a win for @alo_oficial JUST beating @jensonbutton – 0.037s! Does this count as triple crown now? The Race All-Star Series – powered by @ROKiTPhonesUK – 📺 Watch now at:
🇺🇸 Live on @ESPN
🇬🇧 Live on @Eurosport_UK
— The Race (@wearetherace) May 23, 2020
There was drama of a very different kind in the latest FE Race at Home Challenge race in Berlin, as Audi Formula E driver Daniel Abt was disqualified from his third place finish and fined €10,000 for having a professional esports racer drive in his place.
The race was won by Oliver Rowland, but only after pole-sitter Stoffel Vandoorne was hit by Abt’s replacement driver, allowing Rowland past. Vandoorne recovered well to finish second, ahead of Abt and Pascal Wehrlein, Edoardo Mortara and Nico Mueller. Maximilian Guenther was seventh ahead of Andre Lotterer and Antonio Felix da Costa as Mitch Evans rounded out the points scoring finishers.
But the biggest story to emerge on a dramatic day of Esports racing was Abt’s disqualification and fine, the German driver later apologising for his actions.
“I would like to apologise to Formula E, all of my fans, my team and my fellow drivers for having called in outside help during the race on Saturday,” said Abt. “I did not take it as seriously as I should have. I am especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organisation.
“I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste, but it was never meant with any bad intention. Of course, I accept my disqualification from the race.”
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) May 23, 2020