Virtual GP: F1 stars gear up for final online contest ahead of real season
Final instalment of the Virtual GP series live at 6pm on Sky Sports F1 and YouTube; Can Bottas or Albon stop Russell making it four?
Last Updated: 14/06/20 7:36pm
Formula 1 will stage the final instalment of its Virtual GP series on Sunday evening ahead of the sport's real-life return in Austria in three weeks' time.
The virtual world has helped fill the racing and entertainment void since the cancellation of the season-opening Australian GP in March was followed by a four-month delay to the start of F1 2020.
Eleven of the grid's 20 drivers have featured during the course of the seven online races so far, with all but one of them won by a member of the 2020 field.
F1 drivers past and present, plus test drivers and competitors from other motorsport disciplines, have been joined in the varied grids by the likes of footballers Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, cricketer Ben Stokes, and singer Liam Payne.
Amid a friendly but increasingly competitive battle for honours between F1's new young generation of stars from their respective homes on their simulators, George Russell has emerged as the man to beat in the Esports world in recent weeks - and goes in search of a fourth straight win in the Virtual Canadian GP on Sunday night.
Live coverage starts at 6pm on Sky Sports F1 and via our YouTube page in the free stream above (UK and Ireland only).
Russell guranteed 'unofficial' virtual crown
The Williams youngster has won the last three virtual races - dominantly so around the computerised versions of Monaco and Baku - and leads the unofficial points standings.
Although it was not designated as a championship when the series began in late March, Russell and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc - the only other multiple victor - had been battling to become the 'unofficial' champion.
However, with Leclerc not in this weekend's field and instead joining fellow F1 Esports regular Lando Norris and Max Verstappen in Saturday and Sunday's line-up for the virtual version of the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours, Russell is already guaranteed to take bragging rights.
The Briton is one of five current drivers in the field for F1's Esports finale.
Valtteri Bottas, the seven-time Grand Prix winner, joins for a second attempt with Mercedes, while Red Bull's Alex Albon, AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, and Nicholas Latifi, Russell's Williams team-mate, are also in action once again.
The grid for the Virtual Canadian GP
|Mercedes||Valtteri Bottas||Esteban Gutierrez|
|Ferrari||Gianluca Petecof||Callum Ilott|
|Red Bull||Alexander Albon||Jon Olsson|
|McLaren||Nicholas Hamilton||Ben 'Tiametmarduk' Daly|
|Renault||Guanyu Zhou||Caio Collet|
|AlphaTauri||Pierre Gasly||Simon Neil|
|Racing Point||Anthony Davidson||David Schumacher|
|Alfa Romeo||Juan Manuel Correa||Aarav Amin|
|Haas||Pietro Fittipaldi||Louis Deletraz|
|Williams||George Russell||Nicholas Latifi|
With no footballers in the field on this occasion ahead of the resumption of their own seasons, the celebrity contingent is led by Biffy Clyro's lead singer Simon Neil.
Sky F1's Anthony Davidson, meanwhile, is back with Racing Point for the virtual finale.
The Formula 1 season will begin on July 3-5 live on Sky Sports F1 with the Austrian GP. The race is the first of eight in 10 weeks in Europe, with every race live on Sky Sports.