Red Bull: Albon survives mayhem to finish fourth

Alex Albon had to fight for the entire 39-lap race in Monaco to claim a well-earned P4. Red Bull athlete, TAG Heuer ambassador and teammate Kai Lenny finished in P17.

Alex finished the 18-minute wet qualifying session P9, with Kai having to start the race in P20 after being disqualified in qualifying for parking dangerously on the track.

Even though the qualifying session was wet, the race itself was dry, but from lights out it was complete carnage with the top of the grid all bumping tyres with each other on the narrow circuit. Luckily for the drivers, the damage setting on the F1 2019 game was switched off so everyone stayed on the track.

Alex soon found himself up in P6 but on the sixth lap he was hit by Haas’ Pietro Fittipaldi and spun. When he regained control, he was down in P10.

He fought his way back up to P5 and then ensued a battle with FDA Hublot Esports Team’s Arthur Leclerc, and the battle was to last the remainder of the race.

Alex was on a one-stop strategy, whereas others were on two. He had started the race on the medium compound tyres, he then entered the pits with only 12 laps to go and returned to the track in P9.

On the fresh rubber, Alex was able to push his way forward and with only two laps remaining, found himself behind Arthur Leclerc and catching him. The pair were colliding with each other for an entire lap, and it looked more like a fairground ride than a F1 race, but in the last sector, Alex made his move on Leclerc and was able to make it stick, seeing him cross the finish in P4 for the second Virtual GP in a row.

Williams’ George Russell took the win – his second in a row – with Mercedes’ Esteban Gutierrez in second and FDA Hublot Esports Team’s Charles Leclerc in P3.

Despite starting at the back of the grid, Kai showed plenty of grit and determination and managed to gain several places throughout the race, crossing the finish line in P17.

After the Monaco mayhem, Alex said, “It was the most carnage race I think we’ve had. First, we had qualifying in the wet, which I made a mistake in, and then in the race it was just bumper cars. I got punted something like fifteen times, spun around twice and I still managed to finish fourth.

“I couldn’t believe it! Some parts of the race were frustrating but it was still good and now I’m looking forward to the next event in Baku. Well done to my teammate Kai too, he did a great job to fight back after getting taken out and he put a lot of effort in. We had a lot of fun!”

Following his debut Kai added, “What a fantastic experience that was. I had so much fun racing against the best in the world, even if it was virtual. I tried my absolute best but I had a bit of a shocker in qualifying and the rain really threw me.

“But in the race I had an awesome start, got taken out by someone and came back from last to 17th. The whole experience was insane, it’s just unbelievable to see the speed these guys have going around the track and hopefully I can spend more than one week on the sim to improve my time and get closer to their level.

“It was a pleasure to be on the same track as them, I can’t thank TAG Heuer and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing enough for this opportunity, as well as F1 Esports – it’s been amazing. Aloha!”

The next F1 Esports Virtual GP will be held at Baku, Azerbaijan on Sunday 7 June, and you’ll be able to follow all the action from 18:00 BST.

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