Conclusions from the Chinese Virtual Grand Prix

Mark Scott
Charles Leclerc Virtual Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc Virtual Grand Prix

The Virtual Grand Prix series is a bit too realistic in some areas for our liking, whilst Lando Norris needs to upgrade from Windows 95.

Conclusions from round three in China…

Reality check

When the Virtual Grand Prix series was announced, we had dreams of a full 2020 grid going toe-to-toe on a level playing field, giving us a glimpse into what the actual Formula 1 bosses are trying to map out for the sport over the next decade.

Instead we have seven Formula 1 drivers (well, six, looking at you, Lando) and, at round three in China, we had a podium which included a Ferrari, Red Bull and a Mercedes driver. There really is no escaping it, is there? We want realism, just not this kind of realism.

And, whilst on the subject of unwanted realism, we found ourselves moaning about the TV coverage again. The main battle for victory between Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon was largely missed and it doesn’t seem to make a difference whether poor Carlos Sainz is racing in real life or virtually, he still couldn’t get a look-in on what was his debut appearance.

Let’s see if round four can give us the high levels of escapism we all need as these dark and uncertain times continue.

Time for action

In the last round, we singled out the virtual FIA stewards for a lack of consistency in their decision-making, giving us another strong sense of deja vu. After China, we feel the need to hold the virtual FIA account for the outrageous abuse of track limits at Turn 10 and Turn 16. The drivers were so wide at the final corner they were almost in the pit lane! Corner cutting on strict, please.

It’s also time to turn damage on, too. While Leclerc was still a worthy winner once again on his way to maintain his perfect start since joining the series, his race-winning move on Albon was a scene reminiscent of the bumper cars between Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen at Silverstone back in 2017.

The virtual FIA stewards didn’t even place Leclerc under investigation. We can only assume yet another private agreement has been struck with Ferrari.

We get that the current rules are in place to make the game accessible for the stars from other sports/celebrities also taking part, but we still think we’re not quite in middle ground territory just yet.

Where’s Lando?

We would like to apologise to the virtual FIA, though, for singling them out in round two for their treatment of Lando Norris and not restarting the race so the McLaren driver could rejoin the session. After another DNS (did not stream) to his name in China, it’s not the game that he needs to throw in the bin, like Max Verstappen suggested, but his whole bloody PC.

Lando, it’s time for an upgrade.

He must be absolutely fuming. He was making Twitch cool long before the likes of Charles, Alex and George came along with their perfect connections. If Lando doesn’t get his act together soon, he’ll have to stick exclusively to Euro Truck Simulator  instead.

Will Marko’s axe swing again?

After what turned out to be a nightmare debut for Ben Stokes in Australia, it came as no surprise to see he did indeed get the dreaded phone call from Dr Helmut Marko whilst the Austrian was stroking an evil-looking cat from his underground lair.

With still no sign of Max, it was time for Real Madrid and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to effectively put his head on the chopping block after impressing Marko with his short stint at Racing Point.

Courtois only needs to ask Pierre Gasly what happens to you when you can’t keep up with your Red Bull team-mate, but he did at least show he was willing to be a team player by letting Albon by unchallenged and then tried his best to hold up Leclerc for him.

Hopefully that will be enough to keep him off the Red Bull scrapheap for now…

Check out this brand new video from our friends at Racing Statistics. The 2003 Constructors’ Championship in time-lapse form: