Round 4: Silverstone, Great Britain (18 Laps)
Joni Tormala: P8 – Sebastian Job: P18
Race 4 of the F1 Esports Pro Championship was held at Silverstone and qualifying proved just how close the times were through the field. The slightest error would prove costly, as Sebastian Job discovered, missing out on Q3 by a whisker, thus lining up P11. Joni Tormala did better to start P6 from row 3. Job was immediately caught up in a snarl-up at turn 3, which cost him several places, compromising his race. A shame, as he had the pace to aim for the points, as proved by the fact he set the fastest race lap. Joni got off the line well, keeping his position, running at a similar pace to the leaders. He pitted on lap 5 when lying third and rejoined in the mid-field and pushed hard to make his way back up to eighth place to give the team its first four points of the season.
Round 5: Monza, Italy (19 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P5 – Joni Tormala: P20
Mixed fortunes in our home race at Monza. In the Temple of Speed, Job showed what he can do to claim sixth on the grid and then a gritty drive resulted in fifth place at the flag to pick up 10 points. On the other side of our virtual garage the mood was one of frustration. Tormala didn’t put together the best of qualifying laps and in such a closely matched field that meant he got no further than Q1 starting from 20th on the grid. He had to try something different in the race, pitting very early to go for a big undercut. It might have paid off, but for a broken wing sustained in a collision that dropped him back down the order. There was some consolation for the Finn, as he set the fastest race lap.
Round 6: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (15 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P7 – Joni Tormala: P11
As usual, the Spa-Francorchamps track produced a thrilling race from lights out to chequered flag. Tormala and Job were seventh and 11th respectively on the grid and so there was a real chance for both of them to score points. In typical Ardennes wet weather, we opted to split the strategies, with Sebastian opting for Intermediates and Joni on Wets. The latter worked best in the early stages, but as the track gradually dried out with the rain easing, the Intermediate runners had the upper hand which changed the way the race panned out. Job made the most of it to finish P7 and score more points, while Tormala, having had to pit for Intermediates, came home tenth, but was classified 11th because of a 3 seconds penalty for cutting a corner.
“At Silverstone I just missed Q3 by 4 thousandths and qualified 11th. Still a good position but on lap 1 I made contact in T3 and half spun then dropped back and got pushed off and also got a speeding penalty. It was all downhill from that point. In the end, I managed to get the fastest lap, which is better than nothing. In Monza I finally got some points. I qualified sixth which surprised me as the lap was a bit shabby and then went for the undercut, but I overdid it, using the ERS so I couldn’t defend. I was in a good position after the pit stops but I dropped a few places and then had to wait for others to make mistakes and I ended up finishing fifth. Getting those first points means the pressure is off a bit and I should be more consistent now. More points in Spa, a nice P7 in a wet race after qualifying had been disappointing. I failed to make Q3 by 8 thousandths so I was 11. We decided to split the strategies on the basis that at least one of them would work and we could get a really good result. I started on Inters and elected not to pit at all and hope the weather came towards me and it did. Unfortunately, it meant Joni was on the wrong strategy. My pace wasn’t great but as overtaking was difficult it was okay until the guys on fresh inters came by as they had so much more grip. But we scored points again which is a good sign. I feel I’m improving at every event so I’m looking forward to hopefully fighting for the podiums in the next races.”
“Silverstone started really well as I qualified sixth and the race pace was really strong. But then in the race, I made a bad call, pitting one lap too late and I lost two positions and stayed P8 until the end of the race. It was nice to get the first points of the year, but it could have been a lot better. In Monza, qualifying was horrible, I didn’t put a single good lap together and I was last. It’s so close that the smallest mistake and you’re out. In the race, I went for a really aggressive strategy, making up 3 places in 3 laps. I boxed for Softs to make a very big undercut as the tyres were very durable and it worked really well and I undercut the whole midfield. But I broke my front wing on the Ferrari and had to pit again and was running last. At least I stole the point for fastest lap from someone. My qualifying was solid in Spa, enough for P7, a massive improvement. It was another wet race where it was going to dry up towards the end. We decided to split the strategies to score points with both cars. I took the full wets and for a while I thought it would work as I had a big gap to those on inters. But the crossover point came and in one sector I lost several seconds and after the pit stop I came out in traffic. I tried to move up but in the rain it’s so hard to overtake and I even picked up a penalty for my pass on the Williams and ended P11. I am really disappointed as a podium would have been possible if I’d started on inters. At least Seb got some points and we progressed to P8 in the Constructors’.”
The F1 Esports Pro Championship is back in action on 24 and 25 November with three races in Event 3: Portimao (Portugal), Zandvoort (Netherlands) and Austin (USA).