George Russell says he is getting more publicity and exposure from his recent Esports success than he did throughout his entire debut season in Formula 1.

Russell has been taking the virtual sim-racing world by storm and recorded his second consecutive victory in F1’s Virtual Grand Prix series on Sunday, having dominated the Monaco round to win by nearly 40 seconds.

The Briton finished 20th and last in the 2019 F1 world championship in what proved to be a tricky rookie campaign with Williams. The Grove outfit’s well-documented struggles left it anchored to the back-end of the grid for much of the year as it slumped to its worst-ever season, managing just a single point across 21 races.

But Russell says his achievements in virtual racing have not gone unnoticed and stressed he is doing “everything I can to show the people what I can do”.

Asked if his Esports success is helping his reputation, Russell told Sky Sports F1: “In some ways, yes.

“I mean, I got more publicity from winning an Esports race than I got from any single Formula 1 race last year by coming around at the back of the grid.

“So I’m doing everything I can to show the people what I can do, I did that last year, and I’ll try and continue to do that.”

Russell says he had forgotten the winning feeling having not registered a victory since the end of his title-winning Formula 2 campaign in 2018, and admits he did not take F1’s Esports series seriously at the beginning.

“It felt great, to be honest I forgot how much of a buzz it is - winning,” he explained.

“Even though it’s virtually, the competitive nature of myself and going up against my pals – winning it is nice. It’s quite thrilling to be honest.

“I first started off doing it for a bit of fun, trying to provide a bit of entertainment for the hardcore F1 fans who are missing the racing and don’t have anything to support at the moment, and I soon learned that the competition was high and I didn’t want to just compete to make up the numbers, I wanted to come in to try and win.

“And when I struggled in [my] first race [at Albert Park], I thought I need to turn this around and put a bit of effort in, and here we go now.”

 

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