Virtual GP | Round 3 – Monaco

On the 24h of May 2020, the third round of the online grand prix for Formula 2 was held. The grid had 20 contestants, once again ranging from former drivers to current Formula 2 and Formula 3 and even Formula 4.

Qualifying

The session started with a one-shot qualifying on the track, where each driver has one chance to set a lap. The grid was:
1. Lirim Zendeli
2. Jack Aitken
3. Arthur Leclerc
4. Louis Delétraz
5. Théo Pourchaire
6. Calan Williams
7. Robert Shwartzman
8. Dan Ticktum
9. Marcus Armstrong
10. Juan Manuel Correa
11. Callum Ilott
12. Felipe Drugovich
13. Olli Caldwell
14. Davide Valsecchi
15. Enzo Fittipaldi
16. Enaam Ahmed
17. Luca Ghiotto
18. Roberto Merhi
19. Artem Markelov
20. [Disconnected Before Race] Nobuharu Matsushita

Feature Race – 21 Laps

Zendeli got off the line well, along with Leclerc meanwhile Aitken had a slower start. The start was relatively clean until Juan Manuel hitting the barriers and bouncing back into the track, colliding with Ticktum. This cascaded into a mess, where Ticktum then hit Caldwell, creating a block in the circuit. From Caldwell below, nine drivers were collected in the pileup and 10 were able to race. Delétraz passes Aitken up turns 2-3, meaning the front order are Zendeli, Leclerc, Delétraz.
Through the hairpin, Williams went around the outside of Pourchaire. He tapped into Pourchaire slightly through the exit, but managed to recover, meaning he settled for 6th position. Similarly, Correa did the same on Shwartzman for 9th position.

From the tunnel section, Leclerc was battling for the lead with Zendeli, which allowed Delétraz to start gaining track time on them. Following the next lap, Delétraz was within reaching position of Leclerc, which he overtook him around the outside into the hairpin. This allowed him to gain P2 and now was attempting to win his first race. Going through into Tabac, Aitken passed the Monegasque, moving up a position. Arthur Leclerc attempted to fight back through the swimming pool chicane, before having to settle with third. Further back, Pourchaire managed to retake P5 from Calan Williams.

Starting the third lap, Zendeli had a 1 second advantage over Delétraz, meanwhile, Leclerc was trying to gain the position back from Aitken. He led a late dive into the chicane after the tunnel section, however it allowed Pourchaire to drive alongside him following into Tabac. During this fight, Pourchaire picked up a 3 second penalty. The difference between the top two, Zendeli and Delétraz, to Aitken, who was in third, was over 3 seconds.

Despite Marcus already picking up a load of penalties, he was running in 7th behind Calan Williams, with a 0.3 second gap. Later, Correa was battling with Armstrong, going through the final corner. Marcus gave him no room, hitting the front of Juan Manuel’s car, meaning he lost control briefly, allowing Shwartzman and Fittipaldi to run through. Correa now was sat in 10th.

Ghiotto was the first to pit on lap 6, running from 16th. This was followed by Calan Williams on the next lap in 6th. Starting lap 8, some of the front runners started to pit: Delétraz, Aitken and Leclerc. They opted for the softs for the second stint. This meant the order was Zendeli, Pourchaire and Armstrong. Fittpaldi, who was fighting with Armstrong for 3rd, pitted alongside Pourchaire and Shwartzman. Zendeli was still out front, making a gap for when he pits, whilst Armstrong sat 18 seconds behind in second. Delétraz, despite already pitting, was now 3rd with Ilott behind, who is yet to pit, Aitken and Leclerc. Pourchaire battles with Williams through the hairpin, though still maintaining ahead.

By lap 11, Zendeli, Ilott and Markelov were still yet to pit. Luca Ghiotto, who was running 19th, retired from the session.

Leclerc was battling Aitken through Sainte Devote, pressuring him to make a mistake, into which he did. Cutting part of the corner, he tapped into the exit barrier, then swinging back to the right side of the track, which was where Leclerc was making a move. This slammed him into the wall. Similar to Leclerc making a move on Aitken, this time Aitken was making a move on Ilott into turn 1. Jack took the apex of the corner, where Ilott was, tapping him meaning he slowed down. Behind was Leclerc, who hit the rear of Ilott’s Virtuosi car, meaning he slowed down, allowing Aitken to create a gap. Leclerc overtakes Ilott, who was on 12 lap old tyres.

Arthur attempted an overtake into the hairpin on Aitken within the next lap, but was cut off during the exit, who had a better track position. This battle continued through again into Sainte Devote. Leclerc went around the outside of Aitken, but he was squeezed into the wall, allowing Pourchaire to overtake.
Zendeli pitted at the end of lap 14 with a gap of 19 seconds to Delétraz. Despite this gap, it wasn’t enough to keep him behind, meaning Louis took the lead of the race from Zendeli through an undercut. Ilott also pitted in 8th position, meaning everyone had now pitted.

Aitken was being pushed by Pourchaire and Leclerc into the chicane after the tunnel section. His left rear wheel hit the barrier, causing him to spin around, meaning both drivers gained positions. Leclerc was still on the back of Pourchaire, trying to push him to make mistakes, in order to be on the podium.
Delétraz had to start defending, with Zendeli only 0.2 seconds behind, pressuring him so that he could win the feature race. The battle ended however when Zendeli went too deep into the final corner, hitting the barrier briefly, meaning the gap extended to 3 seconds. Only a few seconds behind, Leclerc was battling for third from Pourchaire, which allowed Aitken to come back after his mistake.

On the penultimate lap of the race, Zendeli, suspected of a connection issue, was disconnected from the race in second position, meaning Pourchaire and Leclerc were promoted to second and third respectively in the final stages of the race.

With it being the final lap, there was nothing to lose so Leclerc dove down the inside of Pourchaire just before the hairpin, but Leclerc took the outside line, meaning Théo was still ahead. The battle continued towards the chicane, but Arthur clipped the rear wheel on the corner of the chcicane, meaning he spun round just like what Aitken did previously. This allowed Aitken and Fittipaldi to move up a position, demoting Leclerc to 5th.

The finishers were Delétraz, Pourchaire, Aitken, but Pourchaire had a bigger penalty than Aitken so he was demoted to third. Armstrong finished 8th on the grid, but due to his 6 penalties, he was demoted to 9th, moving Correa up a position, which was reverse grid pole.

Feature Race – 5 Laps

The grid was:
1. Juan Manuel Correa
2. Calan Williams
3. Arthur Leclerc
4. Lirim Zendeli
5. Enzo Fittipaldi
6. Théo Pourchaire
7. Jack Aitken
8. Louis Delétraz
9. Marcus Armstrong
10. Felipe Drugovich
11. Callum Ilott
12. Enaam Ahmed
13. Dan Ticktum
14. Olli Caldwell
15. Robert Shwartzman
16. Roberto Merhi
17. Davide Valsecchi
18. Artem Markelov
19. Luca Ghiotto
20. Nobuharu Matsushita

Arthur got off the grid incredibly well, being able to charge for the lead within immediate lights out. There was no pileup in the first corner unlike the feature race, but it didn’t last too long. Through Casino Square, a collection of too many cars and internet connection issues, it was a spawn of chaos. Marcus Armstrong was going through the corner backwards and pushed around by drivers around him. Dan Ticktum was lifted into the air by Callum Ilott’s car.

Correa still maintained ahead, whilst further back Pourchaire was doing a similar move to what he did in the feature race through the hairpin. He was slightly collected by Aitken, but still kept going. This meant he hit Delétraz’s car upon exit, but Delétraz managed to squeeze through the corner. At the end of the tunnel, Delétraz accidentally tapped Aitken in the back during the entry to the chicane.
As per the short amount of laps, drivers are willing to risk anything for a win, especially around the streets of Monaco. The top 3 were all within a second of each other, whilst Delétraz and Ilott were fighting it behind.

At the end of lap 3, Ticktum and Ilott were fighting each other for 5th. Through the final corner, Ticktum hit Ilott, making him slide out of the racing line and hit the barrier on the side. This allowed Ticktum to gain a position.

Arthur attempted a move into Rascasse through the inside but Correa defended the move. The positions stayed the same where Correa stayed in front. During the left hander of Massanet, Leclerc briefly lost the rear of the car, almost going sideways until he collided with the barriers, allowing him to gain traction of his car and continue driving. This allowed Williams and Delétraz to gain track time to the front runners.
Through the chicane on the final lap, Correa collected a 2 second penalty. With Leclerc 0.5 seconds behind, this promoted him to 1st. Correa’s teammate in the event, Delétraz, was promoted to 2nd with no penalties to his name. Correa rounded off the podium in third.

The final standings were:
1. Arthur Leclerc
2. Louis Delétraz
3. Juan Manuel Correa
4. Calan Williams
5. Callum Ilott
6. Théo Pourchaire
7. Jack Aitken
8. Enzo Fittipaldi
9. Olli Caldwell
10. Felipe Drugovich
11. Roberto Merhi
12. Artem Markelov
13. Dan Ticktum
14. Marcus Armstrong
15. Davide Valsecchi
16. Enaam Ahmed
17. [Retired] Luca Ghiotto
18. [Retired] Robert Shwartzman
19. [Retired] Nobuharu Matsushita
20. [Retired] Lirim Zendeli

Bonus Content

Throughout the race, many drivers collected penalties, wallrided and so on. So here’s some bonus content!

Penalties:
I often write down the penalties (that I catch on stream) in case they make results changing actions at the end, however as per Monaco, it was filled with clashes, corner cuts and so on. Since the Feature Race was the longer of the two, it was expected to be full of penalties, and so it was. On one of my notes, I wrote “Marcus, can you stop getting penalties?” because he managed to collect 6, equalling to around 18 seconds worth. Similarly, Ticktum and Caldwell collected 5 penalties each, both getting 15 seconds.

Feature Race
Sprint Race

Callum’s addition:
I realised that I haven’t finished writing this on Thursday, so I said that in Callum’s Twitch (if you haven’t followed yet, its Callum_ilott). He replied with:
“You just need to write: crash, crash, crash, crash, wallride, crash, crash.”

Dan’s Wallride and Callum’s Reaction:

Taken from dan_ticktum65 and Callum_ilott on Twitch

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