Luca and Tonio actually started from P11 and P14, as other drivers picked up penalties. Fortunately, all 39 laps were run in the dry and it seemed our crew could be in for a strong race. Particularly significant on this tricky street track, the car damage function was disabled, although the usual penalties still applied for cutting corners and these rained down on all of the drivers during the race.
Unfortunately, there was plenty of drama after just the first couple of corners. Tonio was rammed several times and Luca, who got a very good start, found a car sideways across the track in front of him and there was nothing humanly possible (or indeed virtually) he could do to avoid hitting it and flying through the air! Both our guys were now down the back of the field, but from then on they fought their way up the order, especially Luca. After a few laps, the professional two-wheel racer passed Luis Fonsi in the Racing Point and Aubameyang in the McLaren. On lap 6 he also got ahead of Giovinazzi to be 12th, while Tonio was a bit further back. There was more to come and on lap 10 Luca started lapping others, getting in front of surfer Kai Lenny in the Red Bull Racing car, then Fonsi again. At the front, Russell was leading.
While some opted for two pit stops, Luca and Tonio went for a one-stop strategy and while the race ended early for our former driver, for cutting corners too often, Luca finished 12th, behind Bottas in the Mercedes. Russell won in the Williams his second victory in these virtual races, with Esteban Gutierrez second for Mercedes and Charles Leclerc third for Ferrari.
Luca Salvadori (P12):
“Qualifying in the rain caught everyone a little bit by surprise. In the race, I got a really good start and already by the second corner, I was ninth. Then, unfortunately, Giovinazzi spun and I came across him sideway and could do nothing to avoid him. I lost a lot of places and had to start my race all over again from scratch. At this point, thanks to an aggressive strategy, I had a good climb up the order, gaining six or seven place, but up against such talented drivers, it was impossible to do any better. It would be nice to get a clean race without being caught up in incidents. All the same, I had a lot of fun and I want to thank Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri for giving me another run in these races.”
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF):
I’m disappointed with how things went, because I really wanted to do well in Monaco. I have great memories of this track, from winning here in Formula 3000 to all the years in Formula 1 when I also had some good races. Qualifying in the wet was really exhilarating, even if my quickest lap time was later disallowed: a shame, as otherwise I could have started at least a bit further up the grid. In the race, I was rammed at the first corner and after that, I was hit three or four more times, which meant I lost a lot of places. It was a very difficult race and I found myself up against some real simulator experts, who spend entire days practicing. All the same, I had fun and I want to again thank Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri for this opportunity.”
The Virtual GP series will be back in action on 7 June with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. In the meantime, you can watch yesterday’s races, which apart from F1, also include F2 and the Pro Race for Esports drivers, by clicking here.