RACE DEBRIEF

    George Russell put in another stellar performance behind the sim rig wheel to take his third successive F1 Esports win on Sunday night the in Virtual Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

    The Williams driver followed up his thrilling Virtual Spanich GP victory and his absolutely crushing Virtual Monaco GP win with another superb run to the chequered flag around the virtual Baku City Circuit on Codemasters' F1 2019 game.

    Watch all the highlights of the race in the video above, and read on for all the key moments you have missed...

    Virtual Azerbaijan Grand Prix result graphic
    Virtual Azerbaijan Grand Prix - the top 10

    Russell's hat-trick

    He finished third on his Virtual GP debut in April on the Melbourne Australian Grand Prix track, fourth in the Chinese Virtual GP and then second in the race around Brazil's Interlagos circuit, but since then George Russell has topped the podium at all three Virtual races in Spain, Monaco and now Azerbaijan.

    The Williams racer brilliantly snatched pole position from his great friend and rival Alex Albon right at the end of the qualifying session on Sunday, before completing what was a fairly untroubled lights to flag victory, even if it wasn't quite as dominant as his incredible win at Monte Carlo two weeks ago.

    READ MORE: Russell makes it two wins in a row with dominant victory in the Virtual Monaco Grand Prix

    After his last win Russell said he was determined to improve after a difficult first race in the series.

    “I first started off doing it for a bit of fun, trying to provide a bit of entertainment for the hardcore F1 fans who are missing the racing and don’t have anything to support at the moment, and I soon learned that the competition was high and I didn’t want to just compete to make up the numbers, I wanted to come in to try and win," he said.

    So far, so good on that front, then...

    Leclerc fails to challenge

    In the early races of the Virtual Grand Prix series Charles Leclerc was the dominant driver, winning on his debut and following that up with a second successive victory around the Shanghai circuit two weeks later.

    And coming into this event the Ferrari driver was leading Russell 99 points to 96 in the unofficial Virtual GP 'championship' standings.

    MUST-SEE: Highlights and best bits as Leclerc takes another Virtual GP win

    We were hoping for something of a battle royale between the pair, but the Monegasque had a difficult event from the get-go, with a poor qualifying session followed by an even messier race that included crashes and time penalties, and eventually saw him finish down in 14th.

    It means that heading into the final Virtual Grand Prix at Canada next week, Russell is out in front. But he could still be caught should he fail to score and if Leclerc rediscovers his form to win.

    Overtake of the day: Anthony Davidson

    Anthony Davidson may be over 40 now, but the former F1 driver showed he's still got it when he pulled off a great overtaking move on lap 19.

    It may have been on Real Madrid goalkeeper Thiabut Courtois rather than a fellow pro-racer, and he may have been on the faster tyres at this point, but it was still a sweet move.

    And the rest...

    We had a couple of F1 debutants on the grid for this race with Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly joining the fun for the first time. Gasly came out on top in that battle, the AlphaTauri driver coming home in 11th, with Racing Point's Perez finishing 15th.

    F1 Esports regular Thibaut Courtois meanwhile finished a very respectable 12th – ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi, Charles Leclerc and Perez – while his fellow goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma of AC Milan was 16th.

    And we couldn't finish without mentioning one final name from the world of F1: Lando Norris. Since the very beginning of the Virtual Grand Prix series, the McLaren driver has been beset by a seemingly endless stream of technical problems that precluded him from showing off his sim-racing skills.

    But on Sunday he finally managed to complete a race, coming home just outside the podium positions in fourth. "This is like a win for me," he beamed afterwards.