Enzo Fittipaldi claimed victory in the Virtual Austrian Grand Prix as Formula 1’s Esports series returned ahead of the 2021 season.

The Virtual Grand Prix series is returning as a mini, three-round championship as a pre-season event ahead of the 2021 F1 season, having acted as a replacement for real-world racing last year when the coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of the 2020 F1 season.

Formula 3 racer Fittipaldi was victorious for Haas in the opening event at the Red Bull Ring after coming out on top of a thrilling late battle for the lead with Arthur Leclerc - brother of Ferrari F1 driver Charles - with the Brazilian pulling off the race-winning pass on the run to Turn 3 on the penultimate lap.

Eight of the Best and Most BIZARRE Hires F1 Teams Made | Crash.net

All bar one of the 18 competing drivers avoided a penalty for repeated track limits infringements, with Leclerc racking up a six-second penalty that dropped him behind Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne on the podium.

Fourth place went the way of Red Bull reserve driver Alex Albon, who beat the older Fittipaldi brother Pietro in the second Haas.

Polesitter Marcus Armstrong led the early stages of the race before being passed by teammate Leclerc and then picking up a raft of penalties which dropped him to P6 after the chequered flag.

Reigning F3 champion Oscar Piastri was the only driver who was not penalised as he took seventh for the Alpine F1 Team, ahead of Anthony Davidson’s Mercedes, Motorcycle rider Luca Salvadori and Jimmy Broadbent, who completed the top-10 for McLaren.

Ex-F1 racer Vitantonio Liuzzi was the only driver who failed to finish after he was disqualified from the race for excessive track limits infringements.

The teams and drivers are battling it out to win a prize pot which they will donate to charities of their choosing, with the exact amount determined by the final championship positions.

The Virtual British Grand Prix at Silverstone follows next weekend, before the series is concluded with the Virtual Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos on 14 February.