Virtual GP: George Russell aims for another win before F1 return
Rewatch Virtual Azerbaijan GP via our YouTube stream
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 07/06/20 7:56pm
George Russell will bid for his third consecutive victory in the Virtual GP series as he takes on seven of his Formula 1 rivals in an online Azerbaijan GP on Sunday night, with three football internationals also on the grid.
Russell, the Williams starlet with links to Mercedes, has been an impressive winner in the last two races - in Spain and Monaco respectively - and another tonight on Sky Sports F1 would see him overtake Ferrari's Charles Leclerc as the most successful driver in the eSports championship.
But the Englishman will have tough competition, with Leclerc, Alex Albon and Lando Norris also involved, while Sergio Perez, a two-time Baku podium-sitter, and Pierre Gasly will be making their Virtual GP debuts.
The Racing Point and AlphaTauri drivers complete F1's list of eight, with Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi looking for their first online wins.
With the start of the delayed 2020 Formula 1 season set for July 5 in Austria, tonight's race is the penultimate in the series.
Who else is on the grid?
As ever in F1's virtual races, there's an eclectic grid with other professional drivers, plus three footballers.
Thibaut Courtois, who has appeared in both of the last Grands Prix alongside Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang respectively, is swapping the Real Madrid gloves for a steering wheel again tonight, joined by fellow goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, of AC Milan.
Virtual Azerbaijan GP grid
|Mercedes||Esteban Gutierrez||Anthony Davidson|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc||Enzo Fittipaldi|
|Red Bull||Alex Albon||Matthias Walkner|
|McLaren||Lando Norris||Ben 'Tiametmarduk' Daly|
|Renault||Aymeric Laporte||Oscar Piastri|
|Racing Point||Sergio Perez||Jimmy Broadbent|
|AlphaTauri||Pierre Gasly||Gianluigi Donnarumma|
|Alfa Romeo||Antonio Giovinazzi||Thibaut Courtois|
|Haas||Pietro Fittipaldi||Louis Deletraz|
|Williams||George Russell||Nicholas Latifi|
Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte is representing the Premier League with his F1 debut.
Along with two Fittipaldi youngsters, Sky F1's Anthony Davidson is also making his return, alongside Esteban Gutierrez, who has shone in recent races, for Mercedes.
Can Russell continue form?
After his dominant win last time out in Monaco, Russell admitted to Sky Sports F1 that his Virtual GP exploits were helping his F1 reputation.
"I got more publicity from winning an Esports race than I got from any single Formula 1 race last year by coming around at the back of the grid," he said.
And if that's true, it's a perfectly-timed boost for Russell with a Mercedes seat possibly up for grabs next season.
While Toto Wolff stated earlier this week that the door is not shut for Sebastian Vettel with the sport's world champions, he said they would look internally first - mentioning Russell as one of the lead contenders.
The 22-year-old, winner of the 2018 F2 championship, has yet to score a point in F1 but his performances at the back with Williams have been praised.