The Virtual Esports Grand Prix continues on Sunday

Virtual Australian Grand Prix: Leclerc worth a punt

Date: 05/04/2020

Venue: Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit

McLaren’s Lando Norris heads a five-strong list of Formula 1 drivers taking part in the second instalment of the Virtual Esports Grand Prix.

Following an exciting opener to the Virtual Grand Prix Series in Bahrain, the 20 competitors will race around Melbourne’s Albert Park with the likes of Nicholas Latifi, Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon and George Russell getting behind the wheel alongside England cricketer Ben Stokes.

Norris won plenty of fans despite experiencing technical issues in qualifying as he rang up fellow F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Russell for race advice – to the joy of his Twitch followers.

Singer Liam Payne out-qualified Norris as he started at the back of the grid but used his knowledge and ability to work his way through the field.

The Brit endured an intense last-lap battle with YouTuber Jimmy Broadbent when the two made contact on the final corner, but the latter came out on top to finish in fourth ahead of Norris.

The 20-year-old has been practising by playing car racing games in the build up for Sunday and should be a shoo-in for a top-three finish at a price of 2/5, if he does not suffer computer problems.

Zhou to shine again

One person who rose to the challenge at the series opener was Renault test driver and Formula 2 star Guanyu Zhou.

He breezed to victory on the same track where he made his Formula 2 debut to top the podium ahead of former Formula 1 driver Stoffel Vandoorne and BMW Motorsport driver Philipp Eng, who started on pole.

It will be an interesting battle between Zhou and Eng, with bwin offering head-to-head odds on who will come out on top and we reckon the Chinese driver – at 19/20 – will do just that.

Ferrari driver Leclerc is excited for his first race of the season – in reality or virtually – as he makes his Virtual Esports Grand Prix debut.

The Frenchman tweeted on Thursday: “First Race of the year coming up this week-end! I will do my first ever Virtual Race this week-end organised by @F1, and I like this line up.”

Leclerc, who has two F1 victories to his name, will be considered an outsider but the 22-year-old could be worth a punt at 12/1 to win the race following his impressive 2019 campaign.

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