Here are all the highlights from Round 1 of the 2022 season!
F1 Esports 2022 Bahrain
Off the back of his PSGL success, Lucas Blakeley claimed the opening pole position in his McLaren. Thomas Ronhaar joined the Scot on the front row and defending champion Jarno Opmeer started P5, a quarter of a second off pole.
Blakeley got the perfect start and Bari Boroumand came out on top in a three-wide battle to make it a McLaren 1-2. Opmeer also got a great getaway, up to P3 at the end of the first tour.
Fabrizio Donoso's start was a shocker, as the Ferrari man spun out and into last place on the opening lap. The Hard compound tyres were the order of the day, as the drivers had to adapt to the longer 50% race format.
Five-way Battle for the Lead
The entire field was in a DRS train, all 19 cars. The drivers were biding their time, waiting for their sole pit-stop to really unleash their pace. On Lap 12 of 29, we had the first of the Hard runners stop for new tyres.
Boroumand and Ronhaar would stop on Lap 14, with the latter jumping the McLaren on his F1 Esports debut. Blakeley and Opmeer were giving it their all with the Scot bailing into the pits and the Flying Dutchman staying out.
Blakeley rejoined with Ronhaar and Boroumand right on his tail and he lost the net lead to his teammate. Fredi Rasmussen got involved from out of nowhere, but picked up a penalty for cutting the track.
Ronhaar slipped down the order and needed to pit because of damage to his front wing. All this squabbling meant that Opmeer re-emerged in the lead of the race but Boroumand was hot on his heels.
Fight to the Flag!
On Lap 21, Boroumand saw his opportunity and went down the inside of Opmeer into Turn 1. Opmeer went off the road and couldn't prevent Blakeley from passing him too.
The McLarens were working very well to maintain their lead and Blakeley assumed P1 on Lap 24. Opmeer was looking to pass Boroumand as well the following lap, but couldn't get alongside the Iranian.
That changed on the final lap, as Opmeer pounced into Turn 1 on Boroumand. However, in the end, Blakeley held on to get the perfect start to the season for him, despite Opmeer's advances.
Boroumand held onto P3 ahead of Rasmussen, despite the former's drained battery. Rasmussen will appeal his penalty, which dropped him down to P10.
That means that provisionally, Simon Weigang is P4, with Dani Moreno up in P5. Sebastian Job was P6, with the first ever F1 Esports champion Brendon Leigh seventh.
Nicolas Longuet finished P8 with Josh Idowu tenth on the road but up to P9 with penalty.
When's the next round?
The first three rounds of the 2022 season are coming thick and fast! Round 2 takes place at Imola and is live tomorrow from 7:30pm BST. This will be live on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook as well as Sky Sports F1 in the UK.
The final part of the opening triple-header is at Silverstone on Friday 16th September from 7:30pm in the UK. Qualifying for both Silverstone and Imola will be live from 3:30pm UK time on their respective days.
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