After a wild race at Monza, what could the F1 Esports grid deliver to us at Spa?
Much like the real Belgian Grand Prix this year, rain would play a big part in the day, but we would definitely see some racing this time!
2019 Champion David Tonizza started on pole, setting a blistering 1:40.970 in the dry. He was joined on the front row by Red Bull's Frede Rasmussen, but Championship contenders Lucas Blakeley and Jarno Opmeer were down in P10 and P14 respectively.
Could Opmeer pull another strategy masterstroke like he did in China? Or would the rest of the grid be wise to his tricks?
The Spa gambit
Following Opmeer's inters masterstroke at China, the entire grid from P11 back started on the inters, with the top 10 on full wets. The only exception was Rasmussen in P2, who took the gamble on intermediates.
Frede got swallowed by the field off the line, and ended up settling in P7 by the end of lap 1. He was soon in P8 but with a nice gap behind him as well as ahead.
As the race settled it was Red Bull in a nice 1-2 of the intermediate runners, but it was FDA Hublot who had the best of the early running, with David Tonizza in P1 and Brendon Leigh in P4.
Halfway through the race it looked to be drying out, as Frede started to close the gap.
The wet runners started boxing, bar Leigh and Daniele Haddad who avoided the double-stack. It handed effective race lead to Rasmussen, but could he withstand the charge from those on fresh intermediates?
As the laps counted down it didn't look like fresh inters would be fast enough, but with every corner the damage to that rubber increased. Tonizza started reeling in Opmeer in P3, but without DRS overtaking was even harder than usual.
Behind the leading pack, Lucas Blakeley was able to get past Joni Tormala for P9, a battle that started from the Bus Stop and continued all the way to Les Combes before it was sealed.
At the front Opmeer started to close up on Marcel Kiefer. With the Red Bull duo separated by nearly 5 seconds they couldn't do any formation flying.
On the final lap the two, along with David Tonizza and Nicolas Longuet, were battling hard into Les Combes and it was Opmeer who came out on top.
Tonizza would then get Kiefer on the final corner for the final step on the podium. For Kiefer it was a mirror of last year, when a 1-2 for Red Bull vanished on the final lap.
It was a second victory of the season for Rasmussen, who is once again back in the championship battle after a slow start to the season. For Opmeer it was another superb recovery drive, making a strategy work that was a struggle for others.
F1 Esports Event 3
F1 Esports will return on 24-25 November with a trio of races. F1 Esports will be visiting Portimao, Zandvoort, and COTA.