Reigning F1 Esports Champion Brendon Leigh currently leads the 2018 F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series, but doesn’t underestimate the talents of Toro Rosso Esports driver Frederik Rasmussen.
Leigh finished the second round of the F1 Esports Series winning two races out of the three taking place at the GFinity Arena in London on the 31st October.
The reigning champion now has four wins under his belt in the ten round championship, with one round left to take place on the 16th and 17th November. He leads the championship with 128 points to his name, 41 more points that second place Rasmussen.
But the second round didn’t have its fair share of controversy as multiple incidents with Rasmussen whilst battling for lead of the races provided great action for the show for the Esports series.
Leigh reflects on his evening in London with a positive mindset having secured two wins at Paul Ricard and Silverstone, sending his thanks to his Mercedes’ team-mates for their work behind the scenes ahead of the second round.
“I think it feels awesome,” said Leigh. “We just worked so hard behind the scenes.
Myself, Daniel (Bereznay), Patryk Krutyi and Harry Jacks we work so hard behind the scenes working on setups and pushing each other to extremes that you wouldn’t believe and it is really paying off.
“We’re able to have that extra edge over the competition. It is so satisfying.”
Leigh spent most of the round’s action battling with Rasmussen, the driver who pipped Leigh to the line at the end of the first round in Azerbaijan. The pairing made contact with one another in all races over round two, including one where Rasmussen had to go-off road when battling with Leigh, forcing him to finish in third.
The Mercedes driver crossed the line first in France but was handed a penalty for the incident with the Toro Rosso driver, pushing him down to sixth place. But Leigh and Mercedes appealed the penalty and was eventually overturned, infuriating Rasmussen who felt that Leigh’s action were ‘dirty’.
The two would continue their championship battle at Silverstone, where Leigh pass Rasmussen down at Stove, making contact with each other once again as Leigh went on to claim the win.
Spa-Francorchamps saw the two duel with Fabrizio Donoso Delgado and Joni Tormala for second place. Leigh and Rasmussen dueled with each other on the last lap, when the Toro Rosso passed the Mercedes around the outside of the Bus Stop chicane, securing a podium spot as Leigh finished with the exact same time as Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Esports‘s Salih Saltunc, ending down in fifth.
Despite their duels on track, Leigh doesn’t see Rasmussen as a main rival for the championship, but enjoys the duels he has on track with the Dane over the season.
“I personally don’t have a main rival, I just go out and race everybody equally. But I think the battle with Frederik is so immense for me personally because I respect the guy,” added Leigh.
“He’s so so quick, so consistent and he’s a really respected sim racer around the world. To be able to battle him on the stage, in front of everyone, on the F1 car, the fastest cars on the planet, it’s just amazing and the battles that we are going to have and already have are just unbelievably good.”
The Briton from Reading is loving the challenge he has with the Toro Rosso driver over the last four races and hopes the battles will become more closer as the championship starts to come near its conclusion.
“I think Freddy’s got amazing pace. He’s got good consistency and he’s good mentally,”
“So I feel like the battle between us is only going to grow stronger as the season goes on. But for me I love the challenge.
“I want to keep on battling until the end of the season and see who can really hold the nerve at the last moment and I think the true winner will be the person who wins it.”
With one round left, which hosts three races and a double points round in Abu Dhabi, Leigh currently holds a healthy lead going into the final show on the 17th November.
Having won last year’s championship at the Yas Marina Circuit against Donoso Delgado, Leigh believes that accolade can be a massive benefit to him but doesn’t underestimate the talents of Rasmussen and his team-mate Bereznay.
“I ultimately think that any experience is good experience. Having experience of last year and being successful from last year is a massive benefit.
“But I don’t underestimate the ability of Freddy or my team-mate Daniel because all three of us are going for the championship.
“It is really tight and the pace of the other two of Daniel and Frederik is immense so I don’t underestimate them and I just have to keep pushing myself as far as possible.”