Russell dominates wild Virtual Monaco Grand Prix


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A half-distance virtual race around Monaco with damage disabled was always likely to be won by whoever emerged from Sainte Devote in the lead.

Sure enough, George Russell scored a crushing win, drawing away from the field with ease while carnage unfolded behind him.

Pietro Fittipaldi put his Haas on pole position in a wet qualifying session but Haas team mate Louis Deletraz lost his front row start to Russell due to a time penalty. Russell took full advantage, passing Fittipaldi around the outside of the first corner after making a marginally better start.

Before the first lap was over, Fittipaldi had already incurred a time penalty for corner-cutting. The next time around he lost fourth place to Charles Leclerc, who had shared the third row of the grid with his brother, giving him a good view of his younger sibling’s superb getaway into second place.

The next time around Leclerc forced his way past David Schumacher’s Racing Point at Portier for third place behind his brother. But with Russell edging clear, the Ferrari drivers’ only hope of catching him rested on a strategic gamble.

Meanwhile Esteban Gutierrez was getting stuck into Schumacher, and found a way by at the chicane. But Alexander Albon was lurking, and tried to spring a move on the pair of them into Tabac, which ended with the Red Bull broadside across the track.

On lap nine the older Leclerc headed for the pits, but emerged behind Gutierrez, who had already pitted. The other Ferrari then emerged from the pits ahead as well, and within a few laps the trio plus Albon had formed a queue behind the yet-to-stop Lando Norris.

The McLaren driver defended as vigorously as the game’s generous damage settings allowed. Eventually Gutierrez spun at the chicane while trying to pass Arthur Leclerc, forcing the Ferrari driver across the chicane where he picked up a penalty, and handing the initiative to the other Leclerc behind them.

After slipping behind the Ferraris, Norris made an ambitious lunge for the inside at Saint Devote, triggering hard contact with the younger Leclerc. The other Ferrari slipped by into third.

While all this was going on, Russell was building a handy lead over Leclerc. With 10 laps to go he made his sole pit stop and motored on to an untroubled win.

Leclerc clung to second place on fraying tyres until a rapid Gutierrez, who’d pitted a second time for fresh rubbers, appeared in his mirrors. Gutierrez made his move as they rounded the tunnel on the penultimate lap, the pair inevitably made contact, and Gutierrez claimed second as Leclerc picked his Ferrari out of the barrier.

Russell took the chequered flag almost 40 seconds before Gutierrez followed him in. Leclerc recovered to take third place while Albon took his brother for fourth place on the final tour. Fittipaldi had to settle for sixth ahead of Norris, Nicholas Latifi, Deletraz and Schumacher.

Valtteri Bottas came 11th in his first appearance in the series, while fellow newcomer Esteban Ocon did not finish. Vitantonio Liuzzi was disqualified for collecting too many penalties.

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1Pietro FittipaldiHaas
2George RussellWilliams
3David SchumacherRacing Point
4Louis DeletrazHaas
5Charles LeclercFerrari
6Arthur LeclercFerrari
7Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo
8Valtteri BottasMercedes
9Lando NorrisMcLaren
10Alexander AlbonRed Bull
11Esteban GutierrezMercedes
12Nicholas LatifiWilliams
13Luca SalvadoriAlphaTauri
14Thibaut CourtoisAlfa Romeo
15Vitantonio LiuzziAlphaTauri
16Nicolas ProstRenault
17Esteban OconRenault
18Pierre-Emerick AubameyangMcLaren
19Luis FonsiRacing Point
20Kai LennyRed Bull

This article will be updated.

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1George RussellWilliams
2Esteban GutierrezMercedes
3Charles LeclercFerrari
4Alexander AlbonRed Bull
5Arthur LeclercFerrari
6Pietro FittipaldiHaas
7Lando NorrisMcLaren
8Nicholas LatifiWilliams
9Louis DeletrazHaas
10David SchumacherRacing Point
11Valtteri BottasMercedes
12Luca SalvadoriAlphaTauri
13Thibaut CourtoisAlfa Romeo
14Nicolas ProstRenault
15Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo
16Pierre-Emerick AubameyangMcLaren
17Kai LennyRed Bull
18Luis FonsiRacing Point

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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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  • 24 comments on “Russell dominates wild Virtual Monaco Grand Prix”

    1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      24th May 2020, 20:37

      Gutierrez was hilariously terrible.

      1. Geez. That race was horrible (apart of a couple of laps where some guys were going 3-aside into corners). And I don’t understand how Gutierrez did not get a penalty for smashing into Leclerc. He smashed many people and obviously it was ok.. Well.. they switched off the damage, so there goes the credibility of the race at the start already :)

        1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
          24th May 2020, 22:21

          Tbh they all drove a little like they knew the damage wasn’t on but Gutierrez certainly owned that the most. I don’t think I saw a single ‘clean’ overtake from him without touching or nudging the car in front. Though kudos for consistency, he’s as bad at racing virtually as he was on the real life track.

          1. :)))))

    2. This event is such a joke. I watched all last virtual GPs, but seemingly it is only getting worse. Spain was already hilarious with the corner cutting. And today it was outrageous. Just bumping and bullying one’s way through. While Gutierrez was most extreme, also Norris and the Leclercs did it.

      1. @trib4udi I hope they don’t all keep on driving like this when the get back to the real cars again. Would be said to see all drivers behaving badly like Verstappen.

    3. I was really excited hearing they would race in Monaco.. But then realized they were doing so with no damage? At one point they were using the outside barrier as a way to actually make the corner.. It was worse than NASCAR where anyone feeling like it, bumps the front car’s corner , send it into a spin, win , and then brag about it without anyone penalizing him!! F1 Bumpercar Style.. 3 wide into corners bumping each other constantly and whoever gets the short end of the stick, well , tough luck! That was awful.
      On the other hand it was hilarious to watch. It was like watching my 8 year old son going round a closed track creating havoc..
      They were running the game with strict cutting rules and there are no rules for creating havoc?
      I remember playing GP2 and GP3 and GP4 .. you would get the black and white flag on your first on purpose bump and then get the black flag on your second when playing with no damage..
      I know this is just a virtual GP but I really understand why some real drivers snob it and play something else instead..

      1. As some summed up perfectly on Youtube, “No damage makes for a fun game to play but terrible e-sports to watch.”

    4. Ocon failed to finish….. practicing for his real life experience driving for Renault lol

    5. Jockey Ewing
      25th May 2020, 2:42

      And actually when Arthur Leclerc were forced to cut the chicane to avoid an accident showed that scripted penalties are not good enough for competitive games unless there is an option to override them by stewards.
      Actually I’d like to see involving AI into IRL decisions on track behavior, but of course that would be much harder to implement, although a nice experimental task for deep learning, and no matter how good it is, it only should be an advice to the stewards. This could improve the consistency and decision speed with a strong hint based on a lot of history.

    6. Russell was insane this race. Even though this is just a virtual gp, I hope he gets a chance in at least a decent car. Also, this is Monaco. You do not pull 30 seconds out of nowhere, particularly when they all have equal cars performance.

    7. It felt more like watching a comedy of a race than a racing event. I have to admit tho. It was so hilariously bad I watched the full race. It felt a bit like watching a car crash unfold right in front of you so I feel a bit guilty about watching it. But at the same time it was totally unpredictable, chaotic and just so outrageously bad it was entertaining. Entertaining for the wrong reasons but still entertaining. I feel so guilty watching the full race… it just felt so wrong, so bad.

    8. #VirtualFarce

    9. Although you are all right in saying that there was a lot of extremely over aggressive driving, with virtually no penalties preventing it, I was happy to see Lando Norris take the initiative, by acting as a self-policing steward. After he made Arthur Leclerc spin at Ste Devote, Lando drove extremely slowly up the hill, with cars streaming past, until he had waited long enough to Arthur to get back past.
      He’s a good lad. With that approach, he’ll never be champion, but we’ll all love him, which I think is more important.

      1. @alesici ”he’ll never be champion”
        – Too early to make definite conclusions on that before he’s even had a car capable of that at his disposal. Time will tell.

    10. I get it, it’s ‘only a game’ and it is more ‘entertainment’ than sport. But with drivers like Gutierrez it’s not even entertaining to watch, it’s cringeworthy.

    11. Gutierrez ruined it, if the organiser has any sense they should quietly not allow him to enter again.

      The series gives fans something to watch and a bit of routine to difficult times. He played that like mario kart.

      This was the worst race so far, at times the series has been believable. Interlagos was a good, fun race to watch, this was havoc.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        25th May 2020, 20:02

        I can see why people don’t think it is professional to act like Gutierrez did, but I have to say that this game just doesn’t look or probably feel realistic enough for all drivers to take it that seriously. in a way, I can almost say I feel that it was worth doing what he did as it got him from 11th to 2nd even with penalties. I can sort of understand from some drivers view points, “it is just a game” and doing whatever you can get away with almost makes a bit of sense if it gets you the better result. I can’t take this game seriously when watching it, so some drivers may feel the same. It will be really hard to get all the drivers to take it as seriously as the real thing, as it just isn’t remotely close.

        The results in this just don’t reflect anything realisticly on the drivers. It will all depend on how used to their set up and the game they are. I agree it would be better if drivers didn’t act the way Gutierrez, but at the same time, I myself am thinking that none of this actually happened in reality so it really doesn’t matter and that it is just a game! I respect that others may have a different view.

        If they wanted drivers to behave more in this virtual world, Turn on the damage and they will take less risks.

    12. I understand that to some people this whole virtual GP racing is a thing…
      But honestly, 9 time out of 10 I can’t even be bothered to even click on the article.
      MIght as wel go play mariokart yourself would sum up my feelings

    13. Until technology can create realistic wet events stop wasting my time with such phony looking racing. Coverage of Indycars and how they look at racing speeds is far more believable. I felt like the Monaco coverage often caught the cars floating above the track. Noticeably. My PS2 2011 game played right on the couch in front of 40”screen is every bit as good as this coverage and I expected a really much higher quality version than my own extreme tech system.
      Sorry F1, I look forward to seeing another current tech F1race to restore my confidence and I hope it’s a dry race.

      1. This was a dry race.. Qualifying was wet…..

        1. Thanks for helping me understand as I couldn’t tell……

    14. If they couldn’t figure out the damage level, they should have at least set it to 1. Wall riding, corner cutting, bumper cars. That was horrible.

    15. No damage no watch. Monaco’s only saving grace from being a snore fest in real life is each driver being millimeters from a potential wreck. Whatever we’re they thinking?

    Comments are closed.