The Ferrari Driver Academy Esports Team finished fourth and sixth in the Virtual São Paulo GP, courtesy of Dino Beganovic and Arthur Leclerc.
This was the third and final round of the 2021 mini-championship organised by Formula 1 to entertain the fans over the winter. Today’s result means that the FDA Esports team finished second and thus gets a charity prize of 15,000 dollars. Ferrari will donate the prize to Save the Children.
Sprint Race. As per this year’s format, getting the Virtual GP underway were the professional sim drivers, Brendon Leigh and David Tonizza, the latter back in action after having to miss the previous Silverstone round due to a foot injury.
On the single qualifying lap, Leigh was second fastest behind Nicolas Longuet (Alpine) only very slightly quicker than Tonizza. At the start of the Sprint Race, of just five laps, Brendon, whose race result would decide Arthur Leclerc’s grid position in the Feature Race, maintained second place, while David, racing for Dino Beganovic’s start place, was passed by Fabrizio Donoso (Alpine).
With such a short race, there was no time for overtaking and so the FDA Esports Team sim drivers finished second and fourth.
Feature Race. When the lights went out, Arthur got a great start to go into the lead, but he was hit at Turn 1 and spun round, which meant he then had to try and move up from the back of the field.
Dino made the most of the chaos to lead from the favourite, George Russell (Williams). Almost immediately, Arthur made up six places and by lap 6 he had got has high as seventh. Russell and Enzo Fittipaldi (Haas) passed Dino who thus dropped to third.
Arthur then duelled with Pietro Fittipaldi for sixth place, managing to overtake at Turn3. At the same point on lap 14, Alex Albon (Red Bull) caught Dino and tried to pass him round the outside.
The FDA Esports Swede was having none of it and the Thai driver thus went wide into the run-off area. However, three laps later, Albon did manage to get ahead of Dino.
Closing stages. Around lap 20, all the drivers made the obligatory pit stop and when they were over, Beganovic again found himself in fourth place, with a reasonable lead over Pietro Fittipaldi who never managed to challenge him.
Arthur came out of the pits in seventh, behind Jake Dixon (Mercedes) and after a long seven-lap duel, the Monegasque got the upper hand to come home sixth.