Three different teams took victory for the second show of the 2019 F1 New Balance Esports Pro Series, whilst Ferrari Driver Academy driver David Tonizza retains his lead as the series reaches the halfway point.
Ferrari, Renault Sport Team Vitality and SportPesa Racing Point F1 Esports Team took the honours around Canada, Austria and Silverstone, as the title battle between Tonizza and Red Bull Esports‘ Frederik Rasmussen starts to heat up.
Tonizza, who was the first overall pick in this year’s draft, headed into the second show with two wins under his belt and healthy points lead over Rasmussen. The Red Bull driver ended the opening show with a win at Baku, beating Williams Esports‘ Tino Naukkarinen.
The show started at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal where Naukkarinen started on pole, but got off the line poorly, allowing the Renault’s of Jarno Opmeer and Cedric Thome to take over the lead.
The conditions soon began to change as the rain started to hit the circuit. But as the conditions changed, the action heated up when Naukkarinen passed Thome down the back straight before the final chicane. But when attempting to pass ex-Formula Renault driver Opmeer for the lead, the pair collided. Naukkarinen cut the corner and was handed a three-second penalty for it. Opmeer sustained damage but managed to dive into the pits seconds after the incident occurred.
Naukkarinen held onto the lead of the race as the drivers switched to intermedia tyres. The Finn crossed the finish line first but with his penalty, he was demoted to fourth, initially handing the win to Rasmussen. But after the race, the stewards handed the Dane a penalty for cutting the pit exit. The penalty saw him demote to fourth, handing the win to Thome, who only bagged one point in the first live show back in September. F1 Esports reigning champion Brendon Leigh finished in second, with Opmeer in third place.
Austria saw an epic battle between the title contenders in Tonizza and Rasmussen. The Ferrari driver, who had a poor first race in Canada, recovered by grabbing the lead at the Red Bull Ring and keeping Rasmussen behind throughout. Even when the Dane had more pace, Tonizza was able to defend well against the Red Bull and held the lead.
On the final lap, Rasmussen made a last-gasp attempt for the win down towards Turn 3, but the Italian in front covered the inside line into the tight right-hander, stopping any chance of a Rasmussen win. Tonizza clinched his third win of the series, celebrating with his new dinosaur mascot after earning the nickname “Tonzilla”. Opmeer rounded off the podium once again for Renault.
Silverstone was the last race of the round and was filmed live in front of millions on livestreams and hundreds in attendance at the GFinity Arena in London. The race proved to be a thriller as Racing Point’s Marcel Kiefer grabbed his first win in the series, stealing the race win away from Rasmussen.
The German and his Racing Point team struggled in Canada and Austria with zero points on the board, after a strong start in round one. But Kiefer managed to push himself up to third place in qualifying and stuck with the leading pair of Tonizza and Rasmussen, who continued off their duel from the previous race.
Tonizza from pole led the opening laps until Lap 3 when Rasmussen sneaked up the inside of the Ferrari at Luffield for the lead of the race. By Lap 5, Tonizza made his stop but was held in the pits, which cost him time and allowed Rasmussen to get out ahead after his stop on the following lap.
Whilst the Ferrari and Red Bull made their stops, Kiefer took over the lead of the race until Lap 7 when he made his stop and came out a net second place, behind Rasmussen. But on fresher tyres, the German began to eat away Rasmussen’s lead and before the penultimate lap, made a late lunge down the inside at Stowe for the lead of the race.
Kiefer was successful and bagged Racing Point’s and his first win in the series. Rasmussen and Alfa Romeo Racing Esports‘ Daniel Bereznay finished second and third whilst Tonizza ended in fourth.
The series now has reached the halfway point with Tonizza retaining the lead of the championship with 104 points to his name. Second place Rasmussen is only 12 points behind the Italian. Renault’s Opmeer now sits in third ahead of now race winner Kiefer and reigning champion Leigh. Thome for Renault is ahead of Bereznay in sixth, whilst McLaren Shadow‘s Bono Huis is ahead of Naukkarinen and Alfa’s Salih Saltunc.
In the teams’ championship, Red Bull takes over the top with 109 points whilst Ferrari and Renault are within touching distance to the leads, with the three only separated by eight points at the halfway mark. Racing Point sits comfortably in fourth ahead of Alfa Romeo and Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports. Williams and McLaren conflict over seventh and eighth place, whilst Haas F1 Esports and Toro Rosso Esports are tied for ninth place, with eight points.
The second half of the season kicks off on November 6th, 2019 with races at Germany, Belgium and Italy lined up for the series at the GFinity Arena.