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Formula 1

Post-race penalties cost Leclerc two Not The GP wins

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Charles Leclerc was the class of the field in both of Veloce Esports’ Not The GP races around the Hockenheim circuit on the F1 2019 game.

However, while Leclerc crossed the line first in both the standard and reverse-grid races, he was classified as finishing in second in both due to penalties for corner cutting.

It was fellow F1 driver Nicholas Latifi who took pole position for the first race, with F1 Esports drivers Cem Bolukbasi and James Doherty also setting quicker laptimes than Leclerc.

The top four drivers were separated by less than a tenth of a second in qualifying.

A good start for Leclerc meant he got in front of Doherty and Bolukbasi after the first corner. Leclerc then immediately set about overtaking Latifi for first and eventually made a move stick after the pair scrapped for the position from Turn 2 to Turn 8.

With Latifi unable to match Leclerc’s pace and since Doherty had spun at the second corner, it quickly became a two-way fight for top honours.

Every single lap from lap eight until the 17th and final one saw Bolukbasi and Leclerc fight for the win as DRS and slipstream into the hairpin meant neither driver could pull away from the other.

Leclerc crossed the finish line less than a second ahead of the Toro Rosso F1 Esports driver, but a three-second time penalty for Leclerc handed the victory over to Bolukbasi.

Latifi finished in third and just under six seconds away from the top two.

Real Madrid goalkeeper and regular Not The GP event participant Thibaut Courtois spent the majority of the race in fourth place but was overtaken by Doherty and F1 gaming YouTuber Ben Daly on the final lap.

A second 25% distance race lined the drivers up in the reverse order of where they finished the first race.

That gave Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi pole position as while he qualified for the first race in sixth, internet troubles prevented him from starting the race.

Those same issues came back for the Alfa Romeo driver in the second race. He led for the first lap, but Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne then cruised past him down the start-finish straight before Giovinazzi disconnected again.

Vergne soon had to defend from Leclerc, the Ferrari F1 driver having quickly cleared traffic and moved up to fourth by the end of the second lap.

An earlier stop from F1 YouTuber Ben Daly gave him the net race lead and once Leclerc overtook Vergne, it became another fierce battle for first for the Ferrari F1 man.

But the two drivers swapping positions most laps slowed them down and brought former Renault F1 Esports driver Doherty into contention for the win.

Doherty had made his mandatory pitstop at the end of the first lap in a bid to make up positions by staying out of traffic.

This paid off for him as, despite his older tyres, he saw the chequered flag before Daly.

A three-second time penalty for Leclerc meant the race win went to Doherty, but Leclerc kept second position as Daly had incurred exactly the same penalty.

Vergne finished the reverse-grid race in fourth, with Bolukbasi moving his way up from last on the grid to fifth across the line.

Speaking after the second race, Leclerc said: “I somehow always have good starts in the F1 game, I’m not doing anything special but it seems to work anyway.

“The first lap was very good, I wish I had these type of starts every time in reality.

“I broke my front wing, which was a bit of a mess for the rest of the race after that, but it was cool I really enjoyed it.”

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