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By Jesse Simons, 4 may 2020

Albon takes his first victory in Virtual Dutch Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc was unable to complete his hat-trick of Formula 1 Virtual Grands Prix victories on virtual Interlagos. After a battle that lasted the entire race, Alexander Albon crowned himself the winner for the first time.

The fourth Virtual Grand Prix of Formula 1 fell on the weekend that the Grand Prix of the Netherlands should have been held. Since Circuit Zandvoort is not available in the F1 2019 game, which will be used in the official Formula 1 sim races, fans could vote which circuit would host the race. So the choice fell on Interlagos. Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne qualified on pole on behalf of Mercedes, ahead of George Russell and Ferrari junior Enzo Fittipaldi.

Those three lost their good starting position at the start: Vandoorne got off badly and then clashed with Fittipaldi and Russell. From starting positions five and six, Albon and Leclerc advanced to the top positions, followed by AntonioGiovinazzi, Russell and Nicholas Latifi. Albon and Leclerc immediately cut a hole through the chaotic scenes to Giovinazzi, who then ended up in a tough fight with both
drivers. That eventually ended in tears for Latifi, who made contact with Russell and crashed hard. That same Russell became the winner of the fight with the Alfa Romeo to pay and move to third place.

Up front, Leclerc and Albon changed positions several times during the first stint to expand the gap to Russell. Leclerc was the first of the leading duo to make his pit stop, opting for the hard tires. A few laps later, Albon opted for mediums at his stop. Once again, they came together on the tarmac and again the lead changed several times, until a time penalty for Leclerc for not respecting the track limits ensured that the game was no longer about anything.

However, Albon also crossed the finish line first on the tarmac and saw Leclerc relinquish his second position to Russell, who had come from the Ferrari within three seconds in the final phase. Vandoorne recovered in fourth place, followed by teammate Esteban Gutierrez, Renault junior Christian Lundgaard, Fittipaldi and Haas F1 reserve Louis Deletraz. Latifi finished in ninth position after his crash, while the last run before last started Lando Norris.

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