After a long break, the 2022 F1 Esports season is back in Japan! Suzuka, Japan has hosted Round 10 of 12 in the 2022 campaign. After an eventful wet race in COTA last time out, we've got a five-way battle for the championship.
Japan starts the final stint of the first season of Formula 1 esports pro series on the F1 22 game. We've had some classic contests already, but would today's race keep that form going?
Here are all the highlights from Round 10 of the 2022 season!
F1 Esports 2022 Japan
It really was all to play for in Japan, especially since qualifying is so important here. Thomas Ronhaar claimed pole earlier in the day, with championship leader Lucas Blakeley in P6.
Jarno Opmeer had a shocking qualifying session, lining up P16 and conceding his title chances on Twitter.
Nicolas Longuet got the best start of anybody, launching his Alfa Romeo from P2 on the grid. Patrik Sipos had an awful getaway, dropping from P3 to P7. Dani Bereznay wasn't waiting around, passing Frede Rasmussen into P3 through the final chicane.
Longuet was stretching his lead out front, but would the drivers on Hard tyres have an advantage in the long-term? The Mediums were definitely working better on Lap 4 of 27, as Bereznay easily passed Ronhaar with DRS down the pit-straight.
Alfas on top
Alfa Romeo's 1-2 would last little more than a lap, as Ronhaar re-passed Bereznay on Lap 5. The gap was over three seconds between the first two runners though, so Ronhaar would require a scintillating second stint to win.
Sipos' race went from bad to worse, as the Hungarian was out of the points by the end of Lap 8. At the end of Lap 11, Longuet made his pit-stop, the first of the Medium runners at the front to do so.
Bereznay came in the following lap, but so did Blakeley, who was eager to try the undercut, despite being on Hards. The Mediums came in handy for Blakeley, who passed Bereznay into a net P4 into the hairpin.
Rasmussen and Bari Bouroumand stopped on Lap 13, leaving Ronhaar alone in P1. Ronhaar made his stop on the following lap and rejoined P2. There was less than a second between the two, though, as Ronhaar had closed the gap.
The Mercedes drivers were running 1-2, but were the only drivers not to stop yet. Jake Benham didn't fight Longuet, but put up an extremely robust defence against Ronhaar.
The pair made contact several times, and Ronhaar was lucky not to sustain damage. Benham produced similar antics against the other championship contenders, but it was ultimately in vain, as Opmeer was still out of the points.
The queue produced by Benham's blocking soon ran into trouble, as Bereznay spun out of the points at Degna. There was also a three-way tangle further down, but no Safety Car was thrown.
To his credit, Opmeer made it into the top ten on Lap 22, his much newer and softer mediums making mincemeat of Simon Weigang.
Pushing beyond the limit
At the front, Ronhaar had reduced the gap between him and Longuet to just over a second with five laps remaining.
Opmeer was going for P9, but made contact with Farbrizio Donoso and spun in the Esses. This was the end of his championship challenge, and ended up being disqualified from the event shortly after.
Ronhaar was closing on Longuet, but still couldn't get close enough to challenge. In the end, Longuet claimed his first win since 2020, with Ronhaar on his tail and Frede Rasmussen completing the podium.
Outside of the podium, Blakeley headed a McLaren 4-5 in front of Boroumand. Brendon Leigh recovered from a poor qualifying to finish P6 by the chequered flag, ahead of an impressive Matthijs van Ervan.
Donoso survived the contact with Opmeer to end up P8, in front of another quiet drive from Seb Job in P9. Bereznay got the final point in P10 thanks to a late recovery.
In the driver's championship, Ronhaar closed the gap to just five points behind Blakeley. Rasmussen was up to third and just 14 points behind leader Blakeley, with Boroumand a further two points back.
In the teams championship, McLaren sealed the championship with two rounds to spare.
When's the next round?
There's just two rounds remaining in the 2022 season! Round 11 will take place tomorrow 15th December in Brazil. Interlagos hosts the penultimate round of the campaign with Abu Dhabi the location for the final race in 2022.
Qualifying will be live from 3:30pm on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook as well as Sky Sports F1 in the UK. The race will be live from 7:30pm later in the day on these same channels.