Russell edges Leclerc to take maiden Virtual GP win!


George Russell collected his first win in Formula 1's Virtual GP series, the Williams driver edging Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in Barcelona in a 33-lap race marked by penalties handed to both drivers.

Russell's blast off the grid from pole and run down to Turn 1 was challenged by Mercedes' Esteban Gutierrez.

The Briton tried to resist his rival by reclaiming the lead on the outside, but the maneuver failed, and Russell fell to fifth as Leclerc, Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi rushed past.

Leclerc clawed his way up to first at the start of the third lap, and was caught by Albon two laps later. But the Red Bull charger went for an early stop and switch from softs to mediums, while Leclerc undertook his first stop three laps later, opting for a set of hard tyres.

Alfa Romeo's medium-shod Antonio Giovinazzi took command of the proceedings but was eventually overhauled by Albon on lap 16.

However, the British-Thai racer ceded the lead on lap 19 to Leclerc and Russell when he took a hard set of new rubber.

Russell reeled in Leclerc two laps later but the Williams driver's efforts were virtually undermined by a 3-second penalty for exceeding track limits once too often. But the Briton kept his head down and eventually passed Leclerc in the DRS zone.

To try and build himself the 3-second advantage he needed to win, Russell continued to cut corners but a saving grace emerged for the Williams driver when Leclerc was also handed a 3-second penalty for transgressing track limits.

Russell sustained his lead from Leclerc, while Gutierrez completed the podium ahead of Albon and Latifi.

Albon was credited with fastets virtual lap of the Circuit de Catalunya.

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