皇冠体育投注Charles Leclerc defeated Alex Albon in China to secure his second win in two Formula 1 Virtual GP events, the Ferrari man holding firm to win by 2.5 seconds.
The venue for the third Virtual Grand Prix was the Shanghai International Circuit, the location the real Formula 1 circus should have been visiting this weekend, with a 28-lap contest awaiting the 20 drivers.
Bahrain race winner Guanyu Zhou made a welcome return to the series after missing the previous event in Australia, while Carlos Sainz made his Virtual GP debut alongside real-life McLaren team-mate Lando Norris behind the wheel of the virtual papaya machines.
皇冠体育投注Australia race winner Leclerc was also back, the Ferrari pilot being joined by Alex Albon, George Russell, Antonio Giovanazzi and Nicholas Latifi as the seven active F1 drivers taking part this weekend.
Leclerc converted pole position into an early lead with a storming start, leaving Albon to fend off the chasing pack behind.
The Red Bull racer managed to hold second through the opening corners though and began his pursuit of Leclerc.
皇冠体育投注Albon looked good to challenge the Monagasque in the early laps, but dropped out of DRS range with a small mistake, allowing Leclerc to build a handy lead before Albon pitted for a new set of Hard Pirelli tyres.
皇冠体育投注Leclerc followed a couple of tours later, but the power of the undercut allowed Albon to snatch away the lead from the Ferrari, albeit narrowly.
皇冠体育投注Albon held on as Leclerc continued to pile on the pressure as they worked their way past yet-to-pit rivals, before finally falling victim to the Ferrari driver at Turn 1 with around a third of the race remaining.
皇冠体育投注Albon managed to hang on to the coattails of Leclerc for a handful of laps, but ultimately slipped out of DRS range once again, allowing the two-time F1 race winner ahead to control his lead across the closing laps to take the chequered flag just 2.512 seconds clear of the Red Bull.
Zhou meanwhile secured a home podium finish as he jumped Stoffel Vandoorne in the standings due to a post-race track limits penalty for the Belgian Formula E star, with Williams’ Russell also taking advantage to grab fourth.
皇冠体育投注Vandoorne ultimately had to make do with fifth with his three-second penalty applied, with the fast-starting Esteban Gutierrez (Mercedes) coming home sixth just ahead of Haas F1 tester Louis Deletraz.
皇冠体育投注Red Bull junior driver Liam Lawson (Toro Rosso) made the best of the alternative strategy to use his fresher rubber to climb through the field towards the end of the race, snatching eighth from Latifi in the dying minutes.
Completing the top ten was Sainz, who recovered from an early spin to also enjoy a fast final stint on fresh Hard tyres to close out his opening VirtualGP with a solid result.
McLaren team-mate Norris though failed to even make the start as his internet connection issues from last time out continued to plague the Brit, forcing him to miss both qualifying and the race.
皇冠体育投注Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi meanwhile retired from a strong eighth while battling with Lawson towards the end of the encounter, exiting for an unspecified reason.
Footballers Thibault Courtois and Ciro Immobile struggled to keep up with the real-life racers further up the grid, but did manage to head golfing pro Ian Poulter in the standings as the race came to a close.
|2||Alexander Albon||Red Bull|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jnr||McLaren|
|13||Jimmy Broadbent||Racing Point|
|14||Juan Manuel Correa||Alfa Romeo|
|15||Thibault Courtois||Red Bull|
|16||Anthony Davidson||Racing Point|
|DNF||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo|