HIGHLIGHTS: Watch as Charles Leclerc takes debut F1 Esports win in Virtual Grand Prix
Charles Leclerc has only been playing Codemasters' F1 2019 game for a week, but that didn't stop him from taking a dominant debut victory in his first F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix on Sunday night.
The Ferrari driver, racing around the Australian Grand Prix's Albert Park track for the FDA Hublot Esports Team alongside his younger brother Arthur – who is himself a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy – was immediately quick, putting in the second-fastest qualifying time, though he was promoted to pole after Renault's Christian Lundgaard was given a grid penalty.
And once the lights went out, the two-time Grand Prix winner put in a commanding performance from the front to seal a lights-to-flag victory – a win that was all the more impressive given that he revealed after the race he had only got hold of the game "eight days ago".
Though he did add that he had been getting in a lot of practice. "At least five hours each day, every day."
See the full highlights from the race above, and the moment he took the chequered flag, here:
Leclerc the younger impresses too
Arthur Leclerc couldn't quite match his older brother's performance on his F1 Esports debut, but he was impressive nonetheless, coming home just outside the podium positions in fourth – and he enjoyed a spirited battle with Formula 2 driver Christian Lundgaard in the early laps of the race:
Albon and Button stage the best battle of the race
In the midfield it was Formula 1's past against its present, as 2009 world champion Jenson Button, lining up for former team McLaren, staged a superb wheel-to-wheel battle with Red Bull's Alex Albon as both men made their Virtual Grand Prix debuts.
Albon was attacking hard, but Button was not about to give up without a fight as the two of them squabbled over the final points paying position:
And the rest...
George Russell was another driver making his Esports debut, and the Williams F1 star also impressed on his first outing, finishing behind Charles Leclerc and Lundgaard to take third place.
Further down the order, Johnny Herbert followed up his infamous corner-cutting performance in the Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix with a more measured approach this time round, though he might have been better off with his more gung-ho tactics as he could only finish 17th on the virtual Melbourne track – one place ahead of Sunday's guest star, England’s Cricket World Cup Winner, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Red Bull athlete Ben Stokes.
Next up in the F1 Esports series is the Chinese Virtual Grand Prix on Sunday, April 19th.