The 2020 Formula 1 season may have been indefinitely postponed, but that doesn't mean the organizers can't hold online racing events. After successfully holding the first Virtual Grand Prix several weeks ago, the 2020 Chinese Virtual Grand Prix was successfully held and saw Charles Leclerc score another win under his belt.
Competing once more against the likes of Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz Jr., Alex Albon, George Russel, Stoffel Vandoorne, and Antonion Giovinazzi, the young Ferrari driver was able to take the checkered flag in a 28-lap race on Codemasters' F1 2019.
Leclerc immediately pulled away from the grid when the lights went out, gaining an upper hand against the rest of the pack. However, Alex Albon from Red Bull Racing was not far behind the 22-year old driver. Eventually, Albon was able to overtake Leclerc during a mandatory pitstop. But the 22-year old was able to take the lead once more on the 11th lap and was even able to maintain a sizable gap with Albon. In the end, Albon had to settle for second place victory.
Closely following behind Leclerc and Albon was Stoffel Vandoorne who originally secured third place. Vandoorne, however, was handed a five-second penalty due to track limits abuse. This led to him dropping several places as Renault junior driver Guanyu Zhou was pushed to third place while Williams' George Russel landed in fourth place. Vandoorne, along with fellow Mercedes-Benz teammate Esteban Gutierrez finished the race in fifth and sixth place respectively.
"I'm actually enjoying very much playing and streaming. And I enjoy it, even more, when I win. But the post-race celebrations are somehow feeling a bit different. Switching off the computer and go cook white pasta is a bit less glamour than spraying champagne on the podium," said Leclerc on Twitter.
Winning seventh place was Formula 2 racer Louis Deletraz while coming up on eighth was Red Bull Racing junior driver Liam Lawson. Completing the top ten grid were Nicholas Latifi of Williams' and Carlos Sainz Jr. of McLaren.
The next round of the Virtual GP series will see the racers compete at a track of the fans' choosing. The upcoming race will replace the already postponed Dutch Grand Prix originally set for May 3, 2020. With the COVID-19 pandemic still posing a threat, it looks like F1 will continue hosting these virtual races in the meantime.