Russell wins as Leclerc collects penalty on penultimate lap


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George Russell won the Virtual Spanish Grand Prix after a fierce scrap with Charles Leclerc which saw both drivers collect three-second time penalties for track limits violations.

The race was decided when Leclerc was given his penalty on the penultimate lap of the race. Russell had collected his penalty earlier on, then repeatedly cut the final chicane to re-pass Leclerc without gaining a further penalty.

Russell had put his car on pole position but lost the lead within seconds of the race starting. Fellow front row occupant Esteban Gutierrez beat him to turn one, and Russell paid the price for trying to go around the outside of him. Leclerc, Albon and the other Williams of Nicholas Latifi relegated him to fifth place.

Leclerc took the lead from Gutierrez the second time the field passed the pits. Two laps later Albon got the job done as well, meaning the pair that scrapped for the lead last week were now heading the field.

But only for one lap: Albon peeled off into the pits the next time around, and gambled on a switch from softs to mediums. Leclerc came in three laps later, opted for hards, and rejoined on his rival’s tail.

While the others who qualified on softs all made their stops early, Antonio Giovinazzi rose into the lead of the race, running on mediums. He eventually surrendered the lead to Albon on lap 16.

By now Leclerc was almost five seconds behind and had the recovering Russell breathing down his neck. The Ferrari driver cut the apex at the chicane as the Williams drew within striking range at half-distance.

Albon made his second pit stop on the 19th lap, putting Leclerc and Russel in a fight for the lead. The Williams driver, suffering rear tyre wear, fell over two seconds behind at one point, but by lap 21 had the Ferrari in his crosshairs again.

He had taken too many liberties with the track’s run-off areas, however, and was given a three-second time penalty to serve at the end of the race. This changed the dynamic of the battle at the front: Now now only did he need to pass the Ferrari, he would then need to put three seconds on Leclerc to win.

For a while it seemed to be on. Russell took the lead in the DRS zone and briefly edged clear. But then he fell victim to a long-distance lunge from Leclerc who re-took the place around the outside of turn one.

As the laps ticked down Russell increasingly took liberties at the final chicane, using it to attack Leclerc again and regain the lead. But the three-second lead he needed seemed out of reach. “I don’t think we’re going to get two seconds in two laps” he sighed as the 32nd lap of 33 began.

Suddenly, nearing the end of the penultimate tour, race control announced Leclerc had also been given a three-second time penalty. In an instant Russell’s half-second net deficit became a two-and-a-half second lead.

Russell took the win, and afterwards admitted he’d taken note of how aggressively the professional esports drivers had cut the final chicane without taking a penalty during their races. Leclerc took second ahead of Gutierrez, while Albon recovered to fourth ahead of Latifi following his second pit stop.

Lando Norris qualified only 13th after a five-place grid penalty. In the race he suffered his usual connection problems early on and dropped out.

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Starting grid

1George RussellWilliams
2Esteban GutierrezMercedes
3Charles LeclercFerrari
4Antonio FuocoFerrari
5Alexander AlbonRed Bull
6Nicholas LatifiWilliams
7Anthony DavidsonMercedes
8Jimmy BroadbentRacing Point
9Pietro FittipaldiHaas
10Nicolas HamiltonMcLaren
11Max FewtrellRenault
12Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo
13Lando NorrisMcLaren
14Thibaut CourtoisAlfa Romeo
15David SchumacherRacing Point
16Andrea PirilloAlphaTauri
17Sergio AgueroRed Bull
18Vitantonio LiuzziAlphaTauri
19Ian PoulterRenault
20Arthur MeloHaas


1George RussellWilliams
2Charles LeclercFerrari
3Esteban GutierrezMercedes
4Alexander AlbonRed Bull
5Nicholas LatifiWilliams
6Anthony DavidsonMercedes
7Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo
8Pietro FittipaldiHaas
9Antonio FuocoFerrari
10Max FewtrellRenault
11Jimmy BroadbentRacing Point
12Thibaut CourtoisAlfa Romeo
13David SchumacherRacing Point
14Sergio AgueroRed Bull
15Nicolas HamiltonMcLaren
16Vitantonio LiuzziAlphaTauri
17Andrea PirilloAlphaTauri
18Ian PoulterRenault
19Arthur MeloHaas
20Lando NorrisMcLaren

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Author information

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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  • 10 comments on “Russell wins as Leclerc collects penalty on penultimate lap”

    1. they should make these races as long as a real GP . 50 laps or more

    2. Lando, invest in a leased line!

      1. Every other game he plays is fine. It’s just the F1 game that craps out! He had the same number of Twitch viewers for Indy iRacing.

        It’s quite funny watching him and Max play COD…

      2. Actually Lando didn’t have network issues, he just gave up! Span his car, got a time penalty, span again, said on his stream he wasn’t having fun and just retired from the race. :/

    3. How did the footballers do? LOL

    4. The way Aguero shoved Jimmy Broadbent off and pushed him into the pit wall down the straight was outragious.

      1. Makes sense for a footballer!

    5. So you can actually cut the second part of the final chicane without getting a warning, even though on strict corner cutting rules? I will start to do this in career mode and in online racing too.

      1. @krichelle Yes. You are the first person I’ve seen who is in any way happy about this discovery. (And be careful – there’s a limit as to how much cutting can be done, even on that corner).

    6. It was actually a decent e-race!

      @keithcollantine a great addition would be to get an unofficial championship points tables :)

    Comments are closed.