Russell wins the Spanish Grand Prix

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ID 110675668 © Dmitry Kuznietsov | Dreamstime.com

It has been a long time since a Williams car started a Formula One Grand Prix in pole position, let alone won it. Once amongst the strongest teams in the sport, Williams have become perennial back-markers in recent years, trailing along behind the rest of the field.

But, all that changed on Sunday when George Russell, one of their contracted drivers, not only begun the Spanish Grand Prix on pole but went on to win it, although not without more than his fair share of dramas along the way.

Unfortunately for Williams and Russell this was not the real thing, just the latest in the series of virtual F1 races staged, as competitors denied the chance to race on the track have turned to e-sports events instead. Still for a man used to seeing 18 cars ahead of him on the track, Russell will have enjoyed the novelty of being at the sharp end for once.

Not that everything went according to plan. Russell had a poor start and was passed by Esteban Gutierrez in a Mercedes and Charles Leclerc, driving his Ferrari, and, by the end of the first lap was relegated to fifth place. Leclerc then moved into the lead, with Alex Albon in a Red Bull moving up to second. Albon though gambled with his tyre strategy, pitted early, and could only finish fourth.

Meanwhile, Russell then produced the fastest lap of the race so far, and closed up on Leclerc, eventually passing him five laps later. However, he incurred a three second penalty for violating track limit restrictions, meaning that Leclerc just had to stay behind him to record his third victory of the virtual Grand Prix series. However, he then incurred a penalty of his own, handing the victory to the Englishman. Gutierrez eventually came third.

Not all the competitors were regular Formula One drivers. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was the best finishing of the non-specialised racers, coming a creditable 11th out of 20. Three places behind him was Sergio Agüero the Manchester City and Argentine striker, who was driving a Red Bull.

And, towards the back of the field, golfer Ian Poulter came 18th in his Renault.

Shantanu Gupta
A journalist of our sister site MatchPreview.com, Shantanu is a voracious reader who loves reading anything and everything related to football, tennis and cricket and now is applying his trade to writing about Esports.