RACE DEBRIEF

    HIGHLIGHTS: Red Bull and Mercedes level on points after epic Spa showdown in F1 Esports Series Pro Championship

    After the disappointment of being clattered into at Monza, Frede Rasmussen prevailed in a wet Spa thriller to take his second win of the 2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship presented by Aramco, and Red Bull Racing Esports’ third victory in a row.

    AS IT HAPPENED: Watch the action as the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship racers battle it out at Spa

    Wednesday recap

    Wednesday had started perfectly for Rasmussen, as pole position became victory for the Dane around Silverstone after a gutsy last-lap pass on Mercedes newbie Dani Moreno.

    However, it all went wrong in the second event at Monza when, trailing in a Red Bull one-two, Rasmussen was whacked from behind at Turn 1, and tumbled down the order to finish a gut-wrenching eighth.

    Team mate Marcel Kiefer continued in the lead, and was able to secure a second win of the night for Red Bull – but losing out on a potential one-two finish stung, as Kiefer said after the race.

    For a full breakdown of Wednesday’s action, click here.

    AS IT HAPPENED: Watch the action from Rounds 4 & 5 of the F1 Esports Series Pro Championship

    The action at Spa

    Wet races are relatively rare in F1 Esports, but we were given our third of 2021 at Spa, as a wet start greeted the drivers after qualifying. David Tonizza set a shock pole position, with championship leader Jarno Opmeer dropping out in Q2, starting P14.

    As the start lights beckoned, the grid was split – nine of the top 10 drivers started on full wet tyres, but second-placed Rasmussen opted for intermediates, along with the entire bottom half of the field.

    2021 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship Event 2: Round 6 Full Replay, Belgium

    The decision didn't pay off in the short term. Rasmussen descended to mid-pack by the time the field got to Pouhon half way round the lap, and finished the first tour in P7. Dani Bereznay didn’t even make it that far, crashing out on the run down from La Source.

    READ MORE: 7 reasons 2021 will be the best F1 Esports season yet

    The race was one of risks and gambles. Would it clear up, or carry on raining? Pit for fresh intermediates or carry the tyres you started on to the end? Those questions were answered for several drivers on Lap 8, as Tonizza, Longuet, Blakeley, Boroumand and Tormala all came in for the green-walled inters.

    The grip advantage wasn’t as dramatic as some might have expected, but nonetheless, the group made inroads on the leading trio of Rasmussen, Kiefer and Opmeer, who all opted to remain on their starting tyres.

    For the second successive race, a Red Bull one-two looked to be on the cards – but just as at Monza, it wasn’t to be. Reigning champ Opmeer reeled in Kiefer by the start of the final lap, and pounced along the Kemmel straight. In true Hakkinen-Zonta-Schumacher style, Opmeer’s Mercedes-powered car got past, with Kiefer’s white car and Tonizza’s red Ferrari staying put.

    Tonizza did not relent though, and in a carbon-copy of the final corner in Spa 2020, Kiefer was relegated at the Bus Stop chicane on the final lap.

    Rasmussen romped home for win number two of 2021, with Opmeer, Tonizza and Kiefer next in line. Nicolas Longuet took fifth, ahead of Blakeley, Bari Boroumand, Simon Weigang, and Daniele Haddad.

    What happens now?

    With six races down and six to go, we’re perfectly balanced – and so are the team standings. Mercedes and Red Bull are tied on 140 points at the top, beautifully mirroring the on-track closeness of their real world F1 counterparts. In the driver standings, Opmeer leads Blakeley by 14 points, the exact same gap as was the case at the end of Event 1.

    Take a look at the team and driver standings below.

    Our next event takes us to the brand new location of Portimao in Portugal, as well as a return to Zandvoort in the Netherlands, and the Circuit of The Americas in the USA. Join us for all the action from Wednesday November 24.