Scuderia Ferrari Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc said his victory in the Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix felt tougher in some ways than real-world racing.
The Ferrari driver scored an emphatic win on today race on F1 2019 using the Albert Park circuit, as the new Hanoi street track is not available in the game.
Leclerc, who scored his first two real-world F1 wins at Spa and Monza last year, said after the race “I believe it’s maybe even tougher than real life.”
“Because we have the feelings of the car in real life,” he explained. “Here it’s a lot more mental.”
Speaking in a post-race interview for the official F1 broadcast, Leclerc said the 29-lap race had been “unbelievably hard.”
“We are sitting on a chair so there is not even the G-force we have on a real car. But I’m sweating like crazy. The muscles are not hurting but the concentration and everything I’ve been sweating a lot and it’s very hard. But a great race.”
Many of Charles Leclerc’s rivals crashed during the course of the race, which ran to 50% of a real grand prix distance.
“It was tough,” he said. “Everyone was very quick. I think we all knew before going into this race that the one who would do the least mistakes would win, basically, because we are all very close in pace.”
Leclerc’s victory came in his first appearance in F1’s official Virtual Grand Prix series, which held its first event two weeks ago. He said he started practicing a week ago and put in around five hours per day.
“At the end of the week we decided to join all together with George [Russell] and Alex [Albon] and stream everything live and it was very fun so I think we’ll continue to do that. Obviously it’s a hard time for absolutely everyone staying at home so we try our best to entertain everyone at home and hopefully this was the case tonight and we’ll try to do many more in the next few weeks.” – he concluded.