Alex Albon says his intense scrap for victory against Charles Leclerc in Formula 1’s Virtual Grand Prix left him “shaking” with adrenalin and “more scared” than real-life racing.

Albon and Leclerc engaged in a thrilling scrap throughout Sunday’s 36-lap virtual encounter, which served as a replacement for the postponed Dutch Grand Prix with the 2020 F1 season currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The race, which took place at Brazil’s Interlagos circuit following a fan vote - with Zandvoort not featured on the F1 2019 video game - served up an exhilarating showdown between Albon and Leclerc, who traded positions for the lead almost every lap.

The Red Bull driver ultimately prevailed after running longer than Ferrari’s Leclerc in the opening stint and opting for Medium tyres over Hards when he finally pitted. 

"I was shaking afterwards, I had so much adrenalin in my body,” Albon said following the race. 

“I feel more scared driving the simulator than I do the real thing. The pressure was unbelievable. 

“On pace, Charles was very quick but I was quite surprised because I thought most of us would go on soft/mediums – Charles decided to pit earlier than us and I definitely had the better strategy.

“He kept overtaking me and I was getting nervous about George coming as well, it was all going on.”

Leclerc - who was denied a hat-trick of Virtual GP wins - conceded his strategy was a mistake but said he “really enjoyed” the overtaking bonanza and race-long duel with Albon. 

“I stopped way too early, I had not tried the strategy and Alex went for more laps,” he explained. “I was on hards and struggling quite a lot, but with the DRS it made quite a fun race.

“Unfortunately, we took the penalty, which made things a bit less interesting – I should have tried at least one race simulation.

"I knew I had the penalty but after that it was also about having fun, so I kept overtaking Alex. I really enjoyed this race."

 

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