Mercedes dominate a controversial 2nd night of F1 Esports
November 1, 2018
Mercedes win every race of the 2nd Esport event, making it 5 wins out of 6 races
October 31st was a good night for the Mercedes Esports team winning all 3 races at France, Great Britain, and Belgium. It was Brendon Leigh who won the first 2 races and Daniel Bereznay won around Spa Francorchamps to win for the first time at the 2018 series.
France returned to the F1 calendar in 2018 after a 9-year break. The race, of course, had the controversial start at the first corner between Bottas and Vettel. In Esports, the circuit had its controversy between title rivals Brendon Leigh and Frederik Rasmussen in the back end of the race.
Brendon Leigh stuck his Mercedes on pole, with his teammate Daniel Bereznay started 2nd by 0.465 seconds. Toro Rosso driver Frederik Rasmussen was 3rd and Marcel Kiefer started 4th in the Hype Energy Eforce India.
Leigh got a perfect start off the line to lead through the first sector, while Rasmussen was all over the gearbox of Bereznay trying to find a way past. On lap 5 Leigh and Rasmussen pitted on the same lap leaving Bereznay out in the clean air. In the pits Leigh was held by other drivers entering the pitlane, giving a chance for Rasmussen to jump him. This did not happen, but they were close as Rasmussen left the pit box ghosting behind Leigh in the pitlane. Bereznay pitted the next lap and came out in P4 behind his teammate and the two Toro Rosso drivers. On lap 9 Rasmussen tried to pass Leigh into turn 1 before backing out of the challenge. Down the DRS straight Rasmussen tried to pass Leigh, ultimately making contact, which was enough to unsettle Leigh’s car. They carried on side by side for much of the lap but Leigh kept the lead. On lap 12 of 13, Leigh and Rasmussen were side by side again down the DRS straight. Leigh was late on the breaks at the end of the straight keeping them side by side on the exit. On the same lap at turn 13 Leigh and Rasmussen were side by side but made contact, pushing Rasmussen off of the track and coming back on in P3 behind Holzmann and Leigh.
Leigh came across the line to finish P1, but was given a 5 second time penalty after the race for not giving the racing room to Rasmussen on lap 12, dropping him down to P6. As we understand it, Leigh then appealed the penalty and the penalty was then taken away promoting Leigh back up to P1. When Rasmussen was asked about what he thought of the steward’s decisions he said:
“I thought the first decision was a bit harsh, 5 seconds, maybe it’s a bit much when it’s so close but it should have been a penalty for sure. I’m very much against dirty driving and pushing each other off the track. It changes the whole thing now, you’re allowed to push people off the track.”
Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer shared his thoughts after the race expressing the same opinion as Rasmussen saying 5 seconds was too harsh but forcing another driver off the track isn’t OK. He then said “I think you got away with that one Brendon”.
A wet-dry qualifying session meant that the grid was varied in where drivers were starting, but it came as no surprise to anyone than Brendon Leigh was on pole position with a lap time of 1:23.384 . Donso Delgado was 2nd on the grid, with Rasmussen, Kiefer, Salih Saltunc, Sonuc Saltunc, Bolukasi, Bereznay, Naukkarinen, and Carreton finished out the top 10.
Brendon Leigh got away from the line well and lead through the first lap, however, his teammate Bereznay dropped 3 places on the first lap after starting down in the midfield. It wasn’t until lap 3 we got some action. With DRS activated Donso Delgado passed Leigh down the Hangar straight. On the next lap Donso Delgado came into the pits but didn’t reach the pitlane speed limit, so he was given a 5-second stop-go penalty. On lap 6 Rasmussen pitted, trying to undercut Leigh. It wasn’t until lap 9 that Leight pitted for the medium tyre. Leigh exited the pits just 3 tenths of a second ahead of Rasmussen. Rasmussen managed to overtake Leigh on the first DRS straight on lap 10, but Leigh put up a fight through Brooklands and Luffield, Rasmussen managed to keep hold of the lead though. A few laps later on lap 12 of 13, Leigh was side by side with Rasmussen in the battle for the lead but more contact was made pushing Rasmussen off of the track at Stowe. After this Brendon went on to win the race ahead of Rasmussen and Salih Saltunc. Salhi Saltunc, Marcel Kiefer and Donso Delgado had a photo finish.
Both Leigh and Rasmussen were asked about the contact between them on the penultimate lap. Here is what they said:
BL: “I think it was a great race, I have alot of respect for Freddy but he did say before he was going to get punchy and he turned in on me.”
FR: “I thought I could hold it arround the outside, but in the end I just turned in too hard on Brendon. That was my fault. I didn’t mean to do that.”
It was Daniel Bereznay on pole position for Mercedes with Rasmussen in P2. Enzo Bonito, Donso Delgado, Tormala, Leigh, Huis, Sa. Saltunc, Bolukbasi, and Carrerton rounded out the top 10 on the gird.
Bereznay got away well with a better launch than Rasmussen, but Rasmussen seemed to get the better pull away. Rasmussen tried to go round the outside of Bereznay through turn 1 but failed to do so. Rasmussen did exactly what Vettel did to Hamilton in real life, slipstreaming up through Eau Rouge and Raidillon and along the straight to pass and cover off through the chicane. On lap 3, with DRS Bereznay re-passes Rasmussen for lead and covers him off through the chicane. The next lap, Rasmussen tried to go round the outside of Bereznay down the same straight and through the chicane but didn’t have enough room to make the pass. On lap 6 Bereznay and Rasmussen both pitted on the same lap. During the pitstops, Rasmussen got jumped by Donoso for a net P2. A few laps later Tormala in the Red Bull jumped Donso putting himself in a net P2, Donoso in a net P3 and Rasmussen in a net p4. The next lap Leigh pitted and came out alongside Donoso. Along the DRS straight and into the chicane Donoso passed Tormala for P2. In the dying laps, running P2 Donoso picked up a 3 second time penalty for exceeding track limits too much during the race, which would see him drop down the order. On the same lap, Leigh tried to Tormala through the bus stop chicane, but couldn’t get the traction on the exit of the corner. Tormala passed Donoso on track for a legit P2 finish instead of being promoted to P2. Through the final corners on the final lap, Rasmussen passes Leigh and is pushed wide a little bit meaning Salih Saltunc took P4 and Leigh finished P5. Bereznay won the race by 5 seconds.
Below you can see the drivers standings. Leigh leads over Rasmussen by 41 points, but Bereznay is only 9 points further back.
Make sure you don’t miss the final races live from Abu Dhabi between the 16th and 18th of November 2018.
Written by Callum Rochester- @callum61100312