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Race Reviewâ€™s: Virtual Monaco Grand Prix
TheÂ #RacefromHome FIA Formula 2 GPÂ series made the virtual trip to the principality of Monaco this weekend with round three at the Circuit de Monaco with the weather being absolutely perfect in the virtualÂ French Riviera.
This has been the third Virtual Racing round that is completely dedicated to the junior formulas and we had another star-studded grid._
Qualifying saw Lirim Zendeli take the pole for the feature race with Jack Aitken and Arthur Leclerc second and third respectively. Robert Shwartzman and Dan Ticktum both newbies to the official F2 virtual race series both doing well with the Russian in seventh and the Brit in eighth.
Fan favourite Davide Valsecchi was in fourteenth while at the back of the grid we saw all the experienced drivers lag slightly behind the rest. Artem Markelov was last with Roberto Merhi and Luca Ghiotto not far behind.
Lirim Zendeli started on pole for the first time in the F2 Virtual Racing series and he made the pole position count around the tight streets as he took the lead into Sainte Devote ahead of Arthur Leclerc who made the jump on Jack Aitken, with Aitken slipping behind Leclerc in third.
Meanwhile further back there was chaos asÂ Juan Manuel Correa run wide at Sainte Devote and smacked the barrier after being hit by Dan Ticktum before bouncing off the wall into the path of Ticktum and causing a major pileup leaving that above eleventh to run away from the mayhem. Missing from the action wasÂ Nobuharu Matsushita who disconnected during Qualifying.
Ticktum got himself one of five penalties he’d get in the race for his troubles, in a race where it was penalties being dished out to a lot of drivers around the tight street track.
At the front, Zendeli ran wide at the right-hander in the Tunnel and hitting the wall slightly; with damage turned off he was able to still battle with Leclerc for the lead. Leclerc tried to go around the outside of Zendeli at the Nouvelle Chicane, but to no avail, as Zendeli was strong on the brakes.
Ilott lost third after a brilliant move by Aitken on the outside the very next lap to third as Ilott’s tyres started to fade, Leclerc followed suit to move to fouth. Leclerc, however, would end up second best the next time he tried a move on Aitken, once again at Sainte Devote but this time on the outside, with Leclerc, unfortunately, smacking the wall.Â Pourchaire being the main beneficiary from that incident to move up to fourth.
From start to finish the streets of Monte Carlo delivered its usual excitement andÂ dramas. From spectacular spins to bouncing off barriers.
With damage â€˜offâ€™ it made for spectacular viewing as drivers used the Armco toÂ slow their cars, that ordinarily would see them retire with unrecoverableÂ damage. Speeds of around 80kmph were recorded as drivers launched their carsÂ down towards the hairpin bend, usually the slowest corner of the racingÂ calendar!
The Sprint Race saw Correa lead and maintain pole position as cars collided andÂ spun behind him, with Calan Williams a close second at the end of Lap 1.Â Marcus Armstrong gained himself a penalty on Lap 2.
Caldwell also earned himself a two-second penalty, as did Dan Ticktum, on hisÂ first official virtual Grand Prix. Dan picked up the unconventional braking tricksÂ after seeing the advantage it gave to other drivers.
A coming together on the final lap between Leclerc and Correa sawÂ Arthur lose out as he got out of shape heading into Casino Square. The driver racing at his home GP could not find his way past as Juan Manuel made his car as wide as he could.
Arthur Leclerc won his closest battle yet at his home Grand Prix in the glorious sunshine at the virtual Monte Carlo!!
Another great race from the virtual world of F2 and F3
The races came at us fast and frantic as always with the studio pairing of Matt Gallagher and Alex Jaques struggling to keep on top of the action like most of us. Monaco without damage offers us some fun when it comes to late braking but some fans on twitch commented that they would prefer some light damage so that they didn’t push so much and receive all the time penalties. It’s hard to disagree but either way, this is some welcome fun and action for race fans around the world, and we love it!
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