George Russell dominated the Monaco Virtual GP with a perfect race
The win, fastest lap and leading every lap. Near perfect.
Russell, driving for Williams, won his second Virtual GP after victory in Spain two weeks ago.
The most important qualifying session of the F1 calendar was dealt a curveball by being the first wet running of the Virtual GP series.
Not only did the rain make it difficult for the drivers, the fierce track limits in Monaco also played a part.
Pietro Fittipaldi surged to a dominant pole at the end of the session in the Haas with Russell alongside him. The second Haas of Deletraz and the Racing Point of David Schumacher were close behind.
Albon and Charles Leclerc both set very fast laps that would have out them in contention but their laps were invalidated.
The dry race showed up some of the drivers who might be fast in the wet but not the fastest in the dry.
Russell took the lead into turn one and Fittipaldi just slipped back and back.
Alfa driver Antonio Giovinazzi had a chaotic start and was spun round at Massenet getting caught up with debutant Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas ruining both their races.
Charles Leclerc made his way up the field without much issue and by lap 4 was up into 3rd position with Russell leading from Arthur Leclerc, who was teammate to his brother once again.
It was penalties galore with a lot of drivers being penalised for corner cutting very quickly including Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris. It became a question of positions on track and positions with penalties post race.
Albon was making his way through the field and quickly caught up with the fighting pair of David Schumacher and Mercedes driver, Esteban Gutierrez.
Albon slipped passed Schumacher and whilst attempting to go side by side at Tabac with Gutierrez spun round. He got going quickly again but was down the order.
It became clear that Russell was in a class of his own and was pulling ahead meaning the fight between him and Arthur Leclerc would become strategic.
An early pitstop for Gutierrez launched him up the order and he was able to filter ahead of Charles Leclerc for a net P2 as more pitstops occurred later on but Leclerc was able to get back past later on.
The race became very chaotic as early one stoppers mixed up with the two stoppers and the medium starters who had not pit.
It did not become a strategic race, it was frenetic.
There was about 6 cars dicing for P3 with both Leclercs, Gutierrez and Norris all involved.
Arthur Leclerc got taken out by Lando Norris putting both of them further back down the order and allowed Charles Leclerc to consolidate P2 having passed Fittipaldi who had not stopped.
Norris let Arthur Leclerc back through as and Leclerc set about catching up with his brother at their home event.
Russell had extended a lead of over half a minute and pitted for his only stop on lap 29 for softs after his long medium stint.
After his stop he had a 14 second lead over Charles Leclerc.
The other one stoppers made their stops as well with Albon, Norris and Latifi pitting.
Esteban Gutierrez was the lead two stopper, getting past Arthur Leclerc around the outside at St Devote and he began to close in on Charles Leclerc very quickly.
With 5 laps to go, Vitantonio Liuzzi for AlphaTauri became the first driver to be disqualified for multiple penalties.
Gutierrez and Charles Leclerc fought very fiercely for two laps before they made contact coming out of the tunnel on the penultimate lap and Leclerc spun around.
Leclerc immediately accepted blame for the incident and was quick to ask his fans not to go and post hate on Gutierrez’s stream.
Leclerc got back going, keeping third, whilst behind him Albon went side by side with his teammate and brother Arthur Leclerc for the whole first sector.
Albon eventually got the move done and settled into fourth
George Russell sealed the deal after disappearing out front and won the race by 39 seconds from Gutierrez.
Charles Leclerc finished in third rounding out the podium at his home event. Alex Albon was fourth with Arthur Leclerc in fifth.
Pietro Fittipaldi held on to sixth despite his pace not being as good in the dry as the wet.
Norris finished in seventh ahead of Nicholas Latifi, Russell’s teammate and Deletraz. David Schumacher rounded out the points.
Valtteri Bottas recovered to 11th with motorbiker Luca Salvadori, AlphaTauri in 12th.
Thibaut Courtois finished 13th for Alfa Romeo with Nico Prost behind him in the Renault.
They were followed by an AI controlled Antonio Giovinazzi, Arsenal footballer Pierre Aubameyang for McLaren, Red Bull surfer Kai Lenny and Despacito star Luis Fonsi finished a distant last in the Racing Point.
Liuzzi was disqualified and Ocon unfortunately didn’t make the start for his first Virtual GP.