Button wins Legends Trophy as Alonso sweeps Silverstone

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button racing in The Race Legends Trophy Esports series at Silverstone - May 30 2020
© The Race Legends Trophy

Jenson Button clinched The Race Legends Trophy championship on Saturday, in the final round of the second season of the Esports series which was held on a virtual Silverstone Circuit.

But while Button took the title honours, the day's two races were dominated once again by Fernando Alonso who extended his winning streak in the competition to four back-to-back victories after similar success last week at Indianapolis.

The former McLaren team mates lined up alongside each other on the front row for the first race, with Alonso having beaten Button to pole by over a second. When the race started, Alonso shot off into the distance and soon built up a five second lead over the field.

However there was one scare for Alonso, when he made a mistake at Vale and followed the old circuit layout rather than the modern version. By the time he cut back across the grass his lead had been slashed

Alonso explained afterwards that he had been distracted by watching the battle behind him for second place between Button and Jan Magnussen. He still managed to return to the right track with enough of an advantage to maintain the lead and clinch the chequered flag.

Second for Button meant that Magnussen's third place finish was not enough to keep the Dane in the points running, while Emanuele Pirro could only manage fifth place behind Juan Pablo Montoya. It meant that he now also too was too far back from Button in the standings, handing the Briton the title.

The reverse grid format meant that Alonso and Button started the second race from the back, but an astonishing display from the Spaniard saw him scythe his way through the field at remarkable speed and was into the top four before the end of the first lap.

Fernando Alonso takes victory in The Race Legends Trophy Esports series at Silverstone - May 30 2020

© The Race Legends Trophy

After dispatching Tom Coronel for third, Alonso then had a slightly stiffer challenge passing Dario Franchitti before lining up an assault on race leader Michel Jourdain. The pair ended up touching at Luffield, allowing Franchitti to sneak past both of them and take the lead for himself.

The Scot's advantage didn't last long, however, and Alonso soon surged past heading into Brooklands with two laps remaining to take his second win of the day, with Franchitti holding on to secure second.

It had been a dominant display by the two-time F1 world champion, who was a latecomer to Esports and didn't take part in the first two rounds of the season and then failed to finish either race in his debut at Zandvoort. “When I made my debut three weeks ago, I had also just had my sim rig installed,” he explained.

"It was a bit of a mess, and the car is tricky and difficult to drive for the first time," he added after the race. "Obviously Silverstone I know very well the track, and that was an advantage for this weekend.”

Jenson Button in action in The Race Legends Trophy Esports series at Silverstone - May 30 2020

© The Race Legends Trophy

Button's progress to the front had been slower after he suffered a spin at the start. However by the final lap he looked to be cruising to third, only to slow down and cruise his way to the finish line in what turned out to be 12th place.

Button explained afterwards that with the title secured, he had wanted to show respect to Pirro and hand back a position to the Italian after punting him into a spin during the race.

In Button's absence, Montoya took the final place on the podium ahead of Oriol Servia and long-time leader Jourdain. Magnussen finished the race in tenth just ahead of Pirro and Button.

Button's title victory handed him $25,000 which he donated to the “No Kid Hungry” campaign run by the non-profit Share Our Strength organisation.

“It’s been a lot of fun over the past month," Button said afterwards, saying that it had been especially "awesome" to get to drive a simulated modern day IndyCar at Indianapolis as well as the 1970s F1 cars at other events.

While Silverstone was the final round of the second season of the popular The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones series, a short new campaign is due to start on June 6 with further races planned for June 20 and June 27 ahead of the real-world resumption of Formula 1 in July.

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