Oracle Red Bull Racing driver Frede Rasmussen has clinched his first F1 Esports Series Pro Championship win of the season, starting a title shot.
After Event 1’s notoriously slow start in previous seasons, Event 1 has been largely successful for Red Bull Racing Esports in the current F1 Esports Pro Championship.
Frede Rasmussen finished fourth on the road in Bahrain, but a controversial post-race penalty awarded to the Dane threw him back to eighth place: his team-mate ended up well outside of the points.
The Curse of Event 1 stayed with the team after Rasmussen crashed on his last lap in Q3 in qualifying and finished ninth at Imola, but Marcel Kiefer showed the bull’s speed and finished second on the front row.
The German finished where he started and Kiefer was joined by Rasmussen on the podium after a brilliant strategy allowed the Dane to drop from ninth to third place.
The team from Milton Keynes wanted to close the gap to McLaren at their home race in Silverstone by jumping to second place in the constructors’ championship.
After taking the last two poles at Silverstone, Rasmussen managed a hat-trick by relegating Sebastian Job and Thomas Ronhaar to his first pole position of the 2022 F1 Esports Pro Championship.
McLaren Shadow could only manage the third row of the grid meaning it looked like a damage control lap, like Red Bull Racing at Imola.
Opmeer struggled again in Q3 and a mistake on his final run cost him a shot at pole position: the two-time F1 Esports Series Pro Champion only managed ninth place.
Kiefer didn’t even get into Q3 after Lucas Blakeley’s ghost car affected the German in his first run in Q2 when the Scot fell behind: the German then voided his second run.
Ronhaar’s starts had cost him the first two laps but he got off the perfect start to sail past Sebastian Job and into second place when the lights went out.
Further back, a sound issue for Bari Boroumand caused the Iranian to spin at Turn 3, meaning he had to continue waiting for his first F1 Esports Series Pro win.
That promoted Jarno Opmeer and he was quick to finish off Smith’s and Patrik Sipos’ two Alpines when the Mercedes driver decided to start with the alternative strategy and switch to the medium tyres.
The Dutchman had to move and set up Longuet at Brooklands, a corner where the two had a history in Premier Sim Gaming Leagues in F1 2021. Opmeer took the outside line and dove into the slipstream before completing the move on the French at Copse.
The Dutchman didn’t get any further in the DRS train and decided to pit on the white-walled hard tires on lap 10.
With the backspin not as strong at Silverstone compared to Imola due to warm-up difficulties, Longuet managed to get past Opmeer and into fifth place.
Up front, the undercut worked for Lucas Blakeley, and he got ahead of Sebastian Job with a brilliant move at Brooklands.
Rasmussen and Ronhaar were the last two of the leading contenders to box and so their pace was at the top, the duo were well ahead of Blakeley in third and had no pressure during their tire warm-up.
It was a straight fight to the flag as those behind the Dane saved their battery and attempted to launch an attack. Opmeer passed Leigh, who was ahead thanks to an underspin, and Longuet twice on the final lap to take fifth place in another damage control event for the reigning champion.
At the front, Ronhaar tested but refused to overtake Rasmussen until the final lap like the Dane had done to Dani Moreno the previous season. The straight-line speed advantage seemed to help Rasmussen as Ronhaar won very little in the DRS, earning him an 11th win in the F1 Esports Series Pro and closing the gap to 21 points between him and Blakeley.
Ronhaar deservedly clinched his first podium in the F1 Esports Series Pro and jumped to third place overall. Job continued his strong start to the season with fourth place, taking Alpha Tauri to fifth overall.
Longuet finished sixth, adding eight points to Alfa Romeo’s campaign, with Leigh, Sipos, Donoso and Smith scoring double points for Ferrari and Alpine in the final race of Event 1.
Next, Event 2 kicks off in less than four weeks with trips to Austria, Belgium and Zandvoort.
- Frede Rasmussen – Oracle Red Bull Racing F1 Esports – 39:23.167
- Thomas Ronhaar – Haas F1 Team Esports – +0.673
- Lucas Blakeley – McLaren Shadow – +1.925
- Sebastian Job – Scuderia Alpha Tauri Esports – +2,446
- Jarno Opmeer – Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Esports – +3,960
- Nicolas Longuet – Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN Esports – +4,798
- Brendon Leigh – Scuderia Ferrari Velas Esports – +5,911
- Patrik Sipos – Alpine F1 Esports Team – +6,135
- Fabrizo Donoso – Scuderia Ferrari Velas Esports – +6,561
- Luke Smith – Alpine F1 Esports Team – +7,022