If there are any positives to come out of the coronavirus pandemic, the sim racing that is going on during lockdown has re-strengthened the bonds between Charles Leclerc, Alexander Albon, and George Russell.
The three young stars have competed in the last three Virtual Grand Prix events held by Formula 1, as well as doing their own races. In the last Virtual GP held at Interlagos, the trio held all three podium spots with Leclerc finishing third, Russell second, and Albon on the top step in first.
“(Sim racing) is not the same thing as reality for sure, and it will never be exactly the same thing as reality, but for now in a situation like this it is the closest we can get,” Leclerc said in an interview with Racer. “We are all having fun.”
Their friendship began when they were karting together, and as Leclerc said, virtual racing helped them get together again.
“I think this situation also made George, myself and Alex… we probably lost a little bit of contact in terms of speaking to each other over the years with the different categories we were doing, and now in a situation like that it’s great to find each other again and to have fun all together racing and doing what we like, so it’s great.” he said.
After his race-long scrap with Albon at Interlagos, the Monégasque driver expressed how exciting it was, likening the fight to his clash with Max Verstappen at Austria last season.
“There was less contact and even more overtaking than Austria – it was proper fun!” he said I knew I had the penalty but it was all about having fun. I kept overtaking Alex, I didn’t want him to go, even knowing that George would come back and it would probably cost me the second place. But I really enjoyed this race, it was proper. I had a great time.”
The trio’s sim racing events and live streams have helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the fight against COVID-19. All three will be competing in the Virtual Spanish Grand Prix this Sunday 10 May. Alex Albon will be joined alongside Manchester City’s superstar striker Sergio Aguero, joining many other celebrities on the grid.