until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Verstappen wins, Button makes surprise debut in Redline race

by Jack Benyon
2 min read

Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen won both races in the latest Team Redline Pro Series round, while Jenson Button’s surprise addition to the field proved troublesome.

Simracing novice Button was a late entry to the event having had barely any practice beforehand, run on the Road America circuit using European Formula 3 Dallara cars.

The 2009 World Champion – on his first public foray into the esports world as real-life motorsport is put on hold due to the coronavirus – recorded two laps in the opening race, and did not return to the action thereafter.

Verstappen could only manage fifth and 10th in the prior round of the Real Racers Never Quit series – but rebounded from the tricky Watkins Glen Supercars outing to reassert his dominance at the top of the field. After the Road America round, he leads Kelvin van der Linde by over 100 points.

He crushed the opposition from pole position in the first race, but the second stanza did not go completely to plan as budding simracing star Dani Juncadella made the most of a late mistake by Verstappen to mount a charge.

Juncadella – who impressed in the recent The Race All-Star Battle 2 as its top circuit racing driver in the simracer-dominated field – qualified two tenths clear on pole from Verstappen and McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris.

Two laps in, Juncadella made a mistake, dropping him away from Verstappen and Norris, and shortly after Norris slipstreamed through to take the lead.

Verstappen and Norris clashed the last time they raced these cars at Spa in round two of the series, but this time Norris ceded ground first as he made a similar mistake to Juncadella and plummeted outside of the top 10.

Two laps from the end came Verstappen’s mistake, and Juncadella charged. He jinked to the right having got a brilliant run off The Kink (Turn 11), but Verstappen closed the door and Juncadella was sent spearing into the outside wall.

Ultimately, both drivers held on in that order, ahead of Kelvin van der Linde.

Norris had taken third place in the first race after a spin by Sheldon van der Linde gifted him a spot he’d lost earlier – having also fallen behind Kelvin van der Linde prior.

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