Given the high standard of the competition, almost matching that of the professional Esports racers, that’s not bad at all. However, we had hoped for a better outcome to qualifying, with Pierre seventh and Gigio ten places further back, behind his fellow footballer, the Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but actually ahead of real F1 racer Sergio Perez. Our two guys had different strategies: Pierre started on the soft tyre and Gigio on the mediums. Chaos at the start affected our Frenchman particularly badly, who collided with Leclerc which dropped him to the back. A long fight back was then needed, with Pierre getting rid of the softs on lap 5, as that or perhaps six laps was their expected lifespan. He took on hards to go all the way to the flag. Gigio came in six laps later, going from medium to hard.
Pierre passed quite a few cars to end up twelfth. Donnarumma ran at a consistent pace, keeping Perez in the Racing Point behind him for almost the entire race, except when he had to ease off with a technical problem. Nevertheless, he finished 16th, beating another footballer, the Manchester City defender, Aymeric Laporte. If you want to watch yesterday’s race, click here.
Pierre Gasly (P12):
“This was my first Virtual Grand Prix of the year and I have to say I enjoyed myself and it was a lot of fun. It was a new experience for me which I had been keen to try. I managed to get my simulator delivered from Italy to France on the Saturday morning, so it was quite a lot of work to get everything set up properly for the race on Sunday, but we managed it and I was able to practice a bit before the race. It was cool to get on track with the guys and find out a bit more about this virtual world.
I was pretty happy with quali, being P7 in the mix with Charles and Lando who have been taking part in these races for a while now. But I’ve got more to learn and need to practice more. The race was quite complicated as it was my first time and the streaming didn’t work properly: I had a connection problem so I couldn’t do the formation lap so just had to start on the grid. I had a great start then I had a collision at turn 2 and was last, after which there was more chaos in the race. I tried to come from the back and got to P12 with some incidents. Overall it was a lot of fun. I have some more days to practice because I am doing the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours on a different platform and then the F1 Canadian Virtual GP. I am sure I can be better and more competitive next time.”
Guanluigi Donnarumma (P16):
“It was a nice experience and an honour to race with motor racing champions and I’d really like to have a go at another virtual race at some point. It was great fun so I’d like to thank Scuderia AlphaTauri and Red Bull Italy for having made it possible.”
George Russell won once again for Williams ahead of Alex Albon. The final round in the Virtual GP Series is coming up this Sunday, using Canada’s Montreal track layout, starting at 19:00 CEST on 14 June. After that, it will be time to focus on the start of the real F1 season and here you can find all the details relating to the first 8 European races on the calendar.