George Russell wins the Spanish Virtual GP after fight back

George Russell took the win for Williams at the Spanish GP after a race long fight with Charles Leclerc.

The Virtual GP series was racing at Barcelona in place of the cancelled race because of the Coronavirus.

The rolling lineups continued in the F1 Virtual GP series. Mercedes keep Esteban Gutierrez and call up Anthony Davidson who has put in a few good performances in the massive The Race Pro Cup series.

Ferrari reunite 2017 Prema teammates Charles Leclerc and Antonio Fuoco.

Brazil’s race winner Alex Albon continues for Red Bull with Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero stepping in alongside him.

Esports supremo Lando Norris returns for McLaren with Nic Hamilton returning as his teammate.

Renault have Ian Poulter returning who has jumped at every chance he has had despite not beiing on the pace of the racing drivers. Renault junior driver Max Fewtrell will be his teammate this week.

Racing Point once again are fielding David Schumacher and Jimmy Broadbent.

Alphatauri have Vitantonio Liuzzi .returning to the team having driven for Toro Rosso in 2006 and Andrea Pirillo

Alfa Romeo had their racing driver Antonio Giovinazzi returning and Thibaut Courtois who has become a stalwart to sim races.

Haas have their development driver Pietro Fittipaldi with Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo.

Williams are once again the only team with both their F1 drivers, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.

George Russell took pole with a very good lap being the only driver to break into the 1m16s.

He was three tenths ahead of Gutierrez and Leclerc in third.

Norris had internet issues but managed to get an early lap in, albeit a scruffy one. He collided with Leclerc on pit entry and got a 5 place grid penalty.

Russell lost the lead to Gutierrez at the start and then went through conservatively through the corner and Leclerc, Latifi and Albon came past him dropping him to fifth. 

Leclerc then came by Gutierrez to take the lead on turn one on lap two, before DRS. Albon followed through on lap 4.

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Alex Albon chasing Esteban Gutierrez with Nicholas Latifi following © FOM, Codemasters

Albon made the first move strategically, pitting on lap four for medium tyres, committing to a two stop strategy.

His challengers held on until lap seven before pitting for hards.

Albon was very fast on the medium tyres and set about pulling out a gap for his later pitstop.

Whilst passing through traffic, Russell was slowly closing on Leclerc.

Bit by bit he closed the gap.

Lap 19 and Albon pitted from the lead into seventh onto hard tyres hoping to hunt down the cars ahead.

He was 15 seconds behind the leaders.

At this point there was still a possibility that the leaders would pit for a one stop considering how long they were stretching their hard tyres.

Russell got within DRS of Leclerc and was closing in getting closer to passing each lap.

He eventually got given a 3 second track limits penalty which seemed to end the battle for the win and begin the grudge match between the two F2 champions.

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George Russell ahead of Charles Leclerc © FOM, Codemasters

Russell took the lead in a close move into turn one and set about building a gap.

Leclerc was able to take the lead once again but the lap after Russell had so much DRS speed he was able to breeze past Leclerc and began to pull away.

Leclerc’s rear tyres started to go but he was still within distance to take the win.

Albon had been picking his way up the field to close up on the leaders.

He was only able to make it up to fourth place and was a few seconds behind Gutierrez with a lap to go and had to stay put.

Leclerc was pushing as hard as he could and eventually consigned the win to Russell by getting a time penalty with a lap to go, equalising their gap and taking another podium in the series.

Gutierrez was in fourth, with Albon behind.

Latifi and Davidson were fifth and sixth after solid races for the two of them.

Giovinazzi was a second behind Davidson and had been scrapping with him for the majority of the race.

Fittipaldi was the next highest placed driver after Albon to settle for a two stop strategy.

Fuoco and Fewtrell rounded out the top 10.

Thibaut Courtois finished 12th as the highest placed non racer, just behind Jimmy Broadbent who is getting closer to the top 10 finish he is after.

David Schumacher finished 13th ahead of Sergio Aguero who put in a very assured performance on his debut.

No Aguerooooo worthy heroics to the commentators dismay but a very clean performance for the Argentine striker.

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Ian Poulter followed by Vitantonio Liuzzi and Sergio Aguero © FOM, Codemasters

He was ahead of Nic Hamilton and Vitantonio Liuzzi who are both very competent sim racers themselves.

Andrea Pirillo, Ian Poulter and Arthur Melo rounded out the finishers with Lando Norris retiring after issues with his connection once again.

After the race Leclerc and Russell both commented on the ability to push the track limits at the penultimate corner wondering why it was still allowed under the strict corner cutting rules that they were running.

Other than that Russell was very happy to fulfil his pace which has been there across the whole series but hampered by the odd penalty and incident which has put him out early.

He has consistently fought his way back up the field and this time fought right to the top.