After a three week break, the 2022 F1 Esports season has continued this week with races around Monza and Mexico. Today we went to the USA's Circuit of the Americas for Round 9.
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This is the first season of Formula 1 esports pro series on the F1 22 game and so far, it's been extremely entertaining. With just three rounds remaining after today's race, time was running out to catch leader Lucas Blakeley.
F1 Esports 2022 USA
The weather was not typically Texan today, as the rain was pouring for the start of the race at COTA. Full wet tyres were the order of the day, nobody started on the Intermediates.
F1 Esports' most exciting rookie Thomas Ronhaar claimed pole position earlier in the day, but it was Bari Boroumand who took the lead in Turn 1. Ronhaar would get the McLaren back later in the lap though.
Jake Benham found the conditions tough, spinning out and to the back of the field on the opening tour.
Boroumand was getting close to Ronhaar, but not close enough to try another move for P1. Further back, Frede Rasmussen was making progress from a lowly starting position, up to P10 by the end of Lap 5 of 28.
At the front, the battle became a three-way contest, as Jarno Opmeer joined the leading pair. At the halfway point on Lap 14, the leading drivers pit for the inters.
The track has dried enough for the green-walled rubber, but how they warm up on what was still a wet circuit. The top three stayed the same, but Alvaro Careton was a big gainer, up to P4 as a result.
There was a big battle for P7, as the leading two in the championship duked it out. Blakeley held firm, but with Rasmussen's teammate Marcel Kiefaer in P6, the Scot had to be careful.
Brendon Leigh was enjoying another quietly impressive race, as the Ferrari man was up to P4 at the end of Lap 20.
The track continued to dry, but whether it would dry in time for the end of the race was anybody's guess. That didn't stop those at the back of the field taking the risk though, but it was far too early and they lost heaps of time.
Dries on a wet track
Shockingly, Kiefer also pitted to go onto the dries, but he too lost a lot of time. However, things would change quickly, as the crossover approached. Lap 22 was that point, but some drivers continued to stay out.
Nicolas Longuet was one of those drivers and he almost got involved in the leading battle. With the DRS now enabled, Boroumand took full advantage and sent it to the inside of Ronhaar into the lead.
Five laps remained, and the top four were all closing in on each other. Leigh was quickest, but passing is always another.
On the last lap, it all kicked off, as Ronhaar made a move on Boroumand going into the hairpin at the end of the back straight. Both went wide and Opmeer slid down the inside.
Ronhaar would end up P2, with Opmeer getting up to P3. Boroumand lost three places on the final lap, but sensationally it was Opmeer who made it back-to-back victories.
Before any penalties may be applied, the top four listed before currently stands. Rasmussen ended up P5, with championship leader Blakeley in P6. Dani Bereznay was an impressive P7.
Alvaro Carreton was P5 on the road but down to P8 after his time penalty. Despite Kiefer's early switch, he ended up in P9 and Joni Tormala got the final point in P10.
When's the next round?
Today's race marks the end of the penultimate triple-header of the season. The final triple-header takes place between the 14th and 16th of December. Races around Abu Dhabi, Brazil and Imola bookend the 2022 season.
The races will be live on Sky Sports F1, as well as F1's official YouTube, Twitch and Facebook pages. This will start with Abu Dhabi on 14th December. Qualifying will be live from 3:30pm earlier in the day on the same channels.
After the UAE, we head to Brazil and then Imola for the season finale.