Albon wins Interlagos Virtual GP after putting on a show with Leclerc


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Alexander Albon defeated Charles Leclerc after a thrilling race-long battle between the Red Bull and Ferrari driver on the Interlagos circuit on F1 2019.

Albon and Leclerc shared the third row of the grid but were propelled into the lead when three drivers tangled immediately after the start. From third on the grid, Enzo Fittipaldi propelled his Ferrari between the Mercedes of pole sitter Stoffel Vandoorne and second-placed George Russell. The trio converged, letting a stream of their rivals past.

Albon assumed the lead but had Leclerc in hot pursuit, and by lap three the Ferrari driver was ahead. Albon repassed him using DRS the next time by and this established a pattern. The pair exchanged the lead repeatedly on successive laps, using the benefit of the slipstream to pull away from their pursures.

These were led at first by Antonio Giovinazzi, until Russell took the place on lap six, though he was five seconds adrift of the leaders.

Leclerc and Albon continued to exchange the lead until lap 13, when the Ferrari driver ducked into the pits for a set of hard tyres. Albon pressed on another three laps and picked the soft medium rubber for his second stint.

He emerged fractionally behind Leclerc, and the battle immediately resumed. However there was a new intensity to the fight. On lap 22 Albon grabbed the lead and held it for a full lap, the advantage of his softer rubber apparently telling.

The top-of-the-range hardware in Alexander Albon’s simracing rig
Leclerc got back ahead, but committed one track limits infringement too many, triggering a three-second penalty. It made little difference to the ferocity with which they fought, banging wheels on occasions, but now Leclerc’s biggest threat was the growing threat from Russell behind, who was close enough to potentially benefit from his penalty.

Having held third early on, Giovinazzi retired following a collision with Nicholas Latifi, which fired the Williams driver into the barrier. Latifi came in ninth ahead of Lando Norris, who finally managed to finish a Virtual Grand Prix, albeit after a drive-through penalty, a five-second penalty and three post-race three-second penalties.

Albon led Leclerc up the hill for the final time on lap 36, while Leclerc’s penalty dropped him to third behind Russell. Mercedes drivers Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez came in fourth and fifth. Like Albon and Russell, they completed the race without picking up a penalty, something which couldn’t be said for any other driver in the top 14.

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1Stoffel VandoorneMercedes
2George RussellWilliams
3Enzo FittipaldiFerrari
4Christian LundgaardRenault
5Alexander AlbonRed Bull
6Charles LeclercFerrari
7Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo
8Nicholas LatifiWilliams
9Louis DeletrazHaas
10Esteban GutierrezMercedes
11Pietro FittipaldiHaas
12David SchumacherRacing Point
13Jimmy BroadbentRacing Point
14Petter SolbergRenault
15Alessio RomagnoliAlphaTauri (Toro Rosso)
16Juan Manuel CorreaAlfa Romeo
17Ben StokesRed Bull
18Stuart BroadAlphaTauri (Toro Rosso)
19Jelle van VuchtMcLaren
20Lando NorrisMcLaren

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1Alexander AlbonRed Bull
2George RussellWilliams
3Charles LeclercFerrari
4Stoffel VandoorneMercedes
5Esteban GutierrezMercedes
6Christian LundgaardRenault
7Enzo FittipaldiFerrari
8Louis DeletrazHaas
9Nicholas LatifiWilliams
10Lando NorrisMcLaren
11David SchumacherRacing Point
12Petter SolbergRenault
13Ben StokesRed Bull
14Juan Manuel CorreaAlfa Romeo
15Alessio RomagnoliAlphaTauri (Toro Rosso)
16Jelle van VuchtMcLaren
17Stuart BroadAlphaTauri (Toro Rosso)
18Jimmy BroadbentRacing Point
19Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo
20Pietro FittipaldiHaas

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    4 comments on “Albon wins Interlagos Virtual GP after putting on a show with Leclerc”

    1. I wasted my time yesterday watching the US pretend racing. Wasted, because a couple of clowns thought it was okay to ruin the event in the last few laps.
      Could yesterday’s nonsense be repeated in today’s pretend F1 race? Yes. Did I bother watching? No.

      I’ll be leaving ‘virtual’ racing to the kids in future. I’ve got paint to watch.

      1. Your loss. This race was awesome.

      2. I’ve wasted my time in watching 50% of F1 races in the last decade and a half, and I still watch em. The racing is terrible much too often. The formula is out of whack and the manufactures have dictated much of it to ideas that will never appear on a street car although they say that’s why they are racing. But I still consider it my favorite racing league next to pro motocross. I read more F1 news than I do any other racing cause there is more of it thanks to sites like this. Sim racing may someday be bigger than any motorsport ever thought of being just cause millions more people can afford to sim race than those who real race. The sponsors will follow the masses. Personally, I know what the g forces feel like cause I used to race. I don’t need to feel them in the sim. I know how they would feel by what I am looking at on the screen. The g forces I used to feel in motocross were in excess of 13g’s on landings (you can find a video of motocross g’s by Kawasaki on YouTube). So am I missing anything? Nope, I know what it’s supposed to feel like, so I have no problem with virtual racing. Even on the screen, I’m on the track.

    2. I watched all of this race and hadn’t planned to. The official coverage was cringeworthy to me, way too much hype before the race had to stop it. Dropped in on streams by the following :LeClerc, Vandoorne, Norris and for a few moments J Broadbent (YouTube guy). Dropped back once into the main broadcast but it looked like virtual Scalextric. A bunch of identical performing cars going round on rails…. Not a good external view..
      BUT the in car views (technically ON car as they used the ubiquitous tcam view) were frenetic and exciting to watch. I could have used my pc and put 4 or even 6 twitch steamers on the same monitor (I think) and it could have been even better, with one screen maybe showing the official broadcast muted of course. The half length race flew by and there was always some epic battle going between most of the drivers. Only carnage was at the very start which looked like your typical online race with this game but once past the first turn into the Senna Esses the race was on. Fast and clean start to finish. Lots of side by side controlled driving, the pros here showing their class despite the less technical racing available.
      For someone watching a replay I would say avoid the official channel and go direct to the drivers channels and watch /listen from their point of view. Norris and LeClerc were the most verbal, Stoffel was dead serious, intense!
      After Indycar /iracing stole the official games thunder (and drivers!) the previous weekend the spoils were reversed this time. Indycar put on a chaotic display of disorganized bad sportsmanship and F1 showed them how to behave.
      Just a game? Yes. So is pro sport anyway. Why should you be PAID to behave?

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