E-sports: Leclerc takes back-to-back wins in virtual Chinese Grand Prix

E-sports: Leclerc takes back-to-back wins in virtual Chinese Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc celebrated another back-to-back double for Ferrari and took his tally of Formula One esports race wins to two out of two with victory in a virtual Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday (April 19).

The 22-year-old, who also celebrated real life successive victories in Belgium and Italy last season, won from pole position two weeks after he did the same on his debut in a virtual Vietnamese GP.

Racing on a simulator installed in his home in Monaco, Leclerc prevailed over Red Bull’s Thai driver Alexander Albon by two and a half seconds.

Chinese F2 racer and round one winner Guanyu Zhou finished third for Renault.

“That was intense guys,” Leclerc told some 60,000 viewers watching his Twitch stream. “That was really intense.” The 28-lap race was the third in a series designed to give fans something to watch after the Covid-19 pandemic stalled motorsport worldwide and left Formula One still waiting to start its season.

Six current drivers took part in Sunday’s race with McLaren’s Lando Norris, who would have been the seventh, suffering technical problems for the third time in a row.

His Spanish team mate Carlos Sainz crashed, led briefly and finished 11th on his debut.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Lazio soccer striker Ciro Immobile also made guest appearances for Red Bull and AlphaTauri respectively, finishing 15th and 17th respectively.

Golfer Ian Poulter brought up the rear for Renault.

Williams’ George Russell finished fourth, thanks to Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne being penalised post-race, after a penalty for illegal blocking had demoted him from the front row of the starting grid.