Virtual GP: Callum Ilott on the podium at Silverstone

Maranello 07 febbraio 2021

The Ferrari Driver Academy Esports Team finished third courtesy of Callum Ilott and eighth with Robert Shwartzman in the Virtual British GP, the second round of this 2021 mini championship organised by Formula 1 to entertain the fans over the winter and donate money to charities. A prize fund of 100,000 dollars will be split between the teams’ nominated charities, the respective amounts dependent on where they finish at the end of the three rounds. Ferrari’s nominated charity is Save The Children.

Sprint Race. As per the new format, the action kicked off with the professional sim drivers at the wheel. There was a change from the usual line-up for the FDA Esports Team, as David Tonizza had hurt a foot and so Amos Laurito, who raced for the team in 2019, was drafted in alongside Brendon Leigh. The one lap qualifying format saw Leigh take fourth spot at Silverstone and Laurito was 13th. Both of them got away well at the start of the five lap Sprint Race, with Brendon charging from fourth to second, while Amos was 12th. At half distance, Leigh tucked in behind Marcel Kiefer in the Red Bull before taking the lead with a very determined move. The Englishman was first past the flag thus gifting Scuderia Ferrari test driver Callum Ilott pole position for the start of the Feature Race. Laurito made up one more place to finish eleventh and Robert Shwartzman then took over at the wheel.

Feature Race. When the lights went out, Callum held the lead while Robert made a brilliant start, which saw him quickly get up to seventh place, duelling with McLaren’s Benjamin Daly. On lap 7, the Russian managed to get by, following Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas). The Brazilian pitted soon after and Robert was up to fifth, although he was given a nine-second penalty for not respecting track limits. Callum made his stop on lap 9 and was soon back in the pack, with Shwartzman seventh after his pit stop, in a group along with Pietro Fittipaldi and Liam Lawson (Red Bull). Alex Albon (Red Bull) and George Russell (Williams) made the most of their Soft tyres, making up the two-second gap to Callum before passing him, which dropped the FDA driver to third. Robert passed Lawson. Callum was third across the line to take his first virtual race podium, while Robert was sixth past the chequered flag, which became eighth after his time penalty was added.

Next weekend. The third and final Virtual GP takes place next weekend on the Interlagos circuit layout, home to the Brazilian Grand Prix. Currently Haas leads the championship on 57 points with FDA Esports Team second on 42.