Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell was victorious on his return to the Virtual Grand Prix series, beating Alex Albon to win the Virtual British GP.

After taking four wins last year on his way to being crowned the unofficial inaugural Virtual GP champion in 2020, Russell made his return to the series at the second round at Silverstone after being forced to miss the opening race at the Red Bull Ring.

Russell started fifth on the grid but quickly worked his way up to third place, before shadowing Red Bull reserve driver Albon for the entirety of the opening stint. Both drivers hunted down and passed polesitter Callum Ilott following the pit stop window and ended up in a private battle for the win.

A three-second time penalty for Albon for repeated track limits abuse swung the race in Russell’s favour with the Williams driver keeping a clean record throughout the 26-lap race.

Russell took full advantage and looked set to win on-track when he breezed past Albon along the Hangar Straight, only for Albon to fight back on the final tour, pulling off a sumptuous around-the-outside overtake on Russell at Stowe to reclaim the lead.

With Russell crossing the line less than a second behind Albon, their positions were switched when Albon’s penalty was applied, confirming the victory for Russell - his fifth in the Virtual GP series.

Despite picking up a three-second time penalty, Ilott was still able to complete the podium in third place, ahead of Haas brothers Pietro and Enzo Fittipaldi, while Liam Lawson finished sixth in the second Red Bull.

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi took seventh place, ahead of Ferrari Academy Driver Robert Shwartzman, content creator Ben ‘Tiametmarduk’ Daly and Luca Salvadori, who rounded out the top-10 for McLaren and AlphaTauri respectively.

The teams are competing for a $100,000 prize pot to donate to their respective chosen charities across the three-round championship.

The third and final event will be held at Interlagos on Sunday 14 February at 6pm GMT.