Russell is a winner for Williams in virtual Spanish Grand Prix

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 00:49 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


LONDON (Reuters): George Russell, yet to score a point for his struggling Williams team in the real world of Formula One, celebrated a virtual Spanish Grand Prix victory from pole position on Sunday.

The Briton took his first F1 esports win ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who collected a three second penalty for exceeding track limits on the penultimate lap.

That wiped out a similar sanction Russell had picked up.

Mexican former F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez was third for Mercedes.

The race also featured Manchester City’s Argentina soccer striker Sergio Aguero, Real Madrid’s Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Barcelona’s Brazil midfielder Arthur Melo as well as British golfer Ian Poulter.

“I am feeling ecstatic. I’m not used to this winning thing,” said Russell after taking the chequered flag in a race broadcast around the world and on F1’s own platforms.

“I’ve not done it for a long, long time so I dearly missed it,” added the 2018 Formula Two champion who had his F1 rookie season last year.

Former champions Williams have not won in the real world since Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado triumphed at the same circuit in 2012.

“When I got past Charles and I knew I had that three second penalty I was pretty furious,” said Russell. “But when that radio message came in at the end and I heard he had a three second penalty I was almost wetting my pants.”

Leclerc, who had won two of the previous four races, took the lead from the second lap as Russell plunged to fifth.