Zhou Guanyu won the first F1 official Bahrain Grand Prix.
Zhou Guanyu, a test driver for Renault F1 team, won the first official virtual race in F1 history, the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix, in the early hours of March 23, Beijing time.
In order to fill the gap that the new F1 season can not be properly unveiled and several races have been postponed, F1 officials have launched a virtual grand prix based on the "F1 2019" game. The first race was held in the early hours of this morning, Beijing time, when the real world was supposed to hold the Bahrain Grand Prix.
In the first 18 minutes of qualifying, Austrian professional driver Philippe Eng (Philpp Eng), representing Red Bull, beat Mercedes substitute Esteban Gutierrez to take pole position. Zhou Guanyu, who was supposed to start his second F2 season in Bahrain, made the third fastest lap with neutral tyres and got the chance to start from the second row, slightly ahead of this year's F1 rookie, Nicholas Latifi of Williams.
Due to technical reasons, the original 28 laps was shortened to 14 laps, which is 1/4 of the actual length of the race.
Accidents occurred frequently after the start, when Nico Hockenberg, who represented the "accidental" return of Racing Point, collided with Ferrari's Dino Beganovic on the straight road and hit the wall; Johnny Herbert, the winner of three Grand Prix from 16th place, rushed straight through the speed reducer at turn 1 to become the leader, although he was automatically punished.
When Eng overtook Herbert and regained the lead, Zhou Guanyu chased his opponent safely through turn one. On the third lap, the Chinese youngster overtook the Red Bull driver and entered the station as a leader to change the tire after many clashes. Although Zhou Guanyu fell to sixth place after leaving the pit stop, he returned to the first place after the second round of pit stops.
Since then, Zhou Guanyu has not been threatened and won by a huge margin, reaching the highest podium of the F1 Grand Prix in the virtual world for the first time.
Stoffer Van Dorn, another Mercedes substitute, overtook Racing Point's Jamie Broadbent (Jimmy Broadbent) in the final stage and then successfully overtook Eng on the penultimate lap to finish the race.
After falling out of the top three, Broadbent staged a thrilling contest with McLaren driver Lando Norris on the last lap, with the two taking almost alternate positions in every corner. At the last corner, the Racing Point driver put his opponent's McLaren on top of the wall and finished fourth.
For a considerable part of the time, because Norris encountered connection problems, his virtual car was driven by artificial intelligence. The same problem occurred in qualifying, leaving the Englishman without effective time. But he won the fifth place when he started in the back position.
The race attracted a number of guest riders, including Lewis Hamilton's brother Nicholas, singer Liam Payne, and Olympic cycling gold medalist Chris Hoy.
Considering the uneven level among F1 professional drivers, e-sports players and guest drivers, the car adopts fixed adjustment and equal performance settings, while the car damage system is turned off.
The next race in the real world is supposed to be in Hanoi, Vietnam, but because it is a new race, there is no Henan circuit in the game. Therefore, the substitute venue will be Albert Park in Melbourne, thus making up for the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix a week ago.
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