The second round of this year’s F1 Esports Pro Series is running today and tomorrow, and already there’s a familiar look to the championship.
Each round of the season consists of three races, with two running live on the Wednesday and one on the Thursday of each race week. The races themselves occupy full-length practice and qualifying sessions to set the grid order, with a 35% distance race following thereafter.
This month has already seen the first three races in the championship, running on October 13 and October 14, at Bahrain, China, and Austria, and it’s defending champion Jarno Opmeer who’s in charge.
Opmeer moved to Mercedes from Alfa Romeo this year, replacing 2017-2018 champion Brendon Leigh who moved to join 2019 winner David Tonizza at Ferrari, and it initially looked like he was going to struggle despite strong pre-season form.
The champion qualified only 14th for China, and a slightly better 6th for Bahrain. That gave Aston Martin’s Lucas Blakeley the opportunity to score his first F1 Esports Pro victory in the island kingdom, but the race in China proved a wet weather masterclass from Opmeer.
With rain falling at the start of the race, the Dutch champion opted for intermediate tires to start the race and fell back to almost last. It wasn’t long though until a drying line emerged, and Opmeer’s Mercedes rocketed up the field as his rivals pitted, eventually passing Fabrizio Donoso for the win.
The race in Austria was back to form though, with Opmeer sticking the Mercedes on pole and driving barely challenged to the win. Weather ruined the chance at a Mercedes 1-2, as Dani Moreno was forced to stay out an extra lap to avoid double-stacking the cars, but he came home fourth.
That puts Opmeer top of the drivers’ championship by 14 points from Blakeley, with Mercedes also on top in the vital, $750,000 teams’ table with a 23-point lead over Aston Martin.
It all gets underway with the races at Silverstone and Monza today, Wednesday October 27, with qualifying at 1430 UTC available on the F1 YouTube channel. The races will follow on, from 1830 UTC, with the event at Spa taking place at the same time on Thursday October 28.
Following this week’s three races, the F1 Esports season will be at the halfway point, with a month’s break until the racing returns in November.
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