Alex Albon came out on top of a race-long battle to secure his first Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix victory at the Interlagos circuit.
The Red Bull man qualified fifth for the fourth Virtual F1 event -one place ahead of two-time winner Charles Leclerc – but moved into the lead as pole-man Stoffel Vandoorne spun off the line, causing second row men Enzo Fittipaldi and Christian Lundgaard to clash and fall down the order, with George Russell also getting held up in the fracus.
Leclerc quickly followed Albon through the pack into second, while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovanazzi slid through into third ahead of Russell.
The leading pair quickly gapped the Italian though, utilising the DRS to edge away from the chasing pack in the early stages.
The duo swapped the lead through the two DRS zones included in the Interlagos layout nearly every lap ahead of Leclerc’s pitstop at a third’s distance for the Hard compound tyre.
Albon managed to stretch out his Softs for a further four tours, pitting for the softer Medium rubber and rejoining the race right behind the Ferrari.
The pair then continued to battle throughout the rest of the 36-lap race, although the critical moment came with just a third of the race remaining as Leclerc picked up a three-second track limits penalty for cutting the kerb at Turn 2.
Leclerc continued to attack the Red Bull ahead though, ultimately costing him second to the ever-closing Russell behind.
Albon took the chequered flag first as Leclerc decided to follow him home in an attempt to salvage second, but third was his final prize behind the Williams.
Vandoorne recovered from 11th after his early spin to take fourth, the Mercedes Formula E racer unable to close on the leading trio across the race distance, although was able to get the better of team-mate Esteban Gutierrez – who finished just 0.813 behind.
Lundgaard used the same strategy as Albon and fought back through to sixth, the Renault man just shy of five seconds ahead of Enzo Fittipaldi, who was another man to pick up a track limit infringement.
Louis Deletraz managed eighth for Haas, while Nicholas Latifi and Lando Norris completed the top 10 for Williams and McLaren respectively.
Norris was forced to miss qualifying as a result of his continuing internet issues, but was able to take the start from 19th.
He then picked up a drive-through for a jump start, but used an extreme two-stop strategy to utilise his pure speed to pick up a single virtual point.
World Rally Champion of 2003 Petter Solberg took an impressive 12th for Renault in his F1 Esports debut, while Ben Stokes won the battle of the cricketers with 13th ahead of Stuart Broad in 17th.
Giovanazzi suffered yet another retirement after coming together with Latifi while fighting for fourth, while Pietro Fittipaldi also dropped out of the running early on.
|1||Alexander Albon||Red Bull|
|11||David Schumacher||Racing Point|
|13||Ben Stokes||Red Bull|
|14||Juan Manuel Correa||Alfa Romeo|
|15||Alessio Romagnoli||AlphaTauri (Toro Rosso)|
|16||Jelle van Vucht||McLaren|
|17||Stuart Broad||AlphaTauri (Toro Rosso)|
|18||Jimmy Broadbent||Racing Point|
|19||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo|