F1 2021 Virtual Austrian GP: Enzo Fittipaldi takes narrow victory over Vandoorne
This year’s format for the Virtual Grands Prix introduces an unusual form of qualifying. In a quasi tag-team format, the professional’s took to the track in a 5 lap sprint race to set the order for the main event race of F1 drivers and assorted guests. David Tonizza claimed the top step, putting Marcus Armstrong on pole flanked by Anthony Davidson.
Feature Race Report
Carnage unfolded immediately, as Davidson decided to lick the stamp and send it on Armstrong. While the move was impressive, it seemed as though it was more return to sender as the former Super Aguri driver dropped down the order, adding insult to injury with an Albon-esque spin.
Shed sim racer Jimmy Broadbent profited off the chaos to take P3 before the Fittipaldis lined him up one after the other, setting themselves up for their charge into the podium places.
Leclerc and Armstrong were formation flying out front for the first half of the race before the pitstop rotation. Armstrong looked in position to claim the lead through the pits before overly attacking the pit limiter line causing a penalty. He wasn’t alone, as everyone bar Oscar Piastri were awarded penalties, mostly for track limits infractions. Tonio Liuzzi fell particularly foul of this, being disqualified on Lap 16.
Vandoorne started on the mediums and used his tyre life advantage to stay out and lead before dropping to 5th through the pitstops. A late charge steering slightly clearer of the white lines allowed him to take 2nd when all was said and done.
The Haas drivers of Enzo and Pietro Fittipaldi took advantage of the chaos in the early laps to make their way to 3rd and 4th position, before being pinged for the same infractions at the pit lane entry line as Armstrong. Enzo appeared to be more comfortable on the fresh set of boots, clearing the first Ferrari and setting after Leclerc.
Leclerc the younger held strong under pressure until 8 laps to go, when an ambitious move from Fittipaldi put him in P1. The Monegasque returned the favour with 5 laps remaining, before being re-passed for what would be the last lead change. One last do or die move caused another track limits penalty for Leclerc, ceding P2 to Vandoorne.
|4||Alex Albon||Red Bull||12|
|9||Luca Salvadori||Alpha Tauri||2|
|10||Thibaut Courtois||Alfa Romeo||2|
|14||Jack McDermott||Alfa Romeo||0|
|15||Jeffrey Herlings||Red Bull||0|
|DSQ||Tonio Liuzzi||Alpha Tauri||0|