F1 Esports: Tonizza shows his pace as Opmeer tightens grip on title
The 2019 winner showed his prowess on home soil as both titles are finely poised.
The final race of Event 3 took place at the Temple of Speed itself, Monza.
After the F1 race gave us a surprising winner, hopes were high for the F1 Esports race, and it delivered.
A champion’s drive
The FDA Hublot team has suffered some awful luck this season, but on home tarmac they found their form.
Reigning champion David Tonizza took pole with a stunning 1:17.232 lap, just 0.027 ahead of Jarno Opmeer.
FDA’s other driver Enzo Bonito took P3, giving the Scuderia a terrific shot at big points.
It was opportunity that they converted in some style.
David Tonizza showed imperious form at the front. He was able to retain P1 through the long run into the tight opening chicane and never really looked in danger of giving it up.
Pitting on the same lap as the leader, Opmeer couldn’t find the momentum needed to overtake despite Monza being one of the most powerful circuits for slipstreaming and DRS.
The top two were soon joined by Brendon Leigh, whose opposite strategy saw him blitz the rest of the field and then bridge a two second gap in a matter of laps, but he too had no answer for the pace at the front.
Eventually the podium trio of Tonizza, Opmeer, and Leigh would be five seconds clear of the field – a gap that in F1 Esports is practically lapping the field.
Red Bull falter as Opmeer extends lead
While Silverstone and Spa saw the Red Bull drivers narrow the gap to Jarno Opmeer at the top of the Drivers standings, Monza undid their hard work.
Frederik Rasmussen, who claimed pole in the first two races of the event, could only put it P6, while Marcel Kiefer didn’t even get out of Q2.
Eventually, both Bulls would finish in the points, with Rasmussen stealing fourth on the final lap and Kiefer making a remarkable run through the field to finish P8.
But Opmeer’s ability to convert a strong qualifying position into yet another podium puts him on the cusp of his first F1 Esports title.
The grand finale
The final event of F1 Esports takes place on 16-17 December and everything is to play for.
With races at Suzuka, Mexico, and Interlagos, there will be plenty of action.
With 78 points still available to a driver, Opmeer’s lead of 19 is slender, and not enough for him to finish second every race and still win the title.
Rasmussen and Kiefer are on the back foot for sure, but neither is out of the running. However, Red Bull are playing a team-first game rather than focusing on one individual driver.
That team-first mentality sees them top the team standings, but their 32 point lead can certainly be overturned in Event 4.
P3 is hotly contested between Renault, FDA, and Mercedes. On current form it is unlikely that Mercedes can bridge the gap, but never count Brendon Leigh out.