Formula 1

Longuet and Ronhaar Duked it Out in the Exciting F1 Esports Series Pro Championship Grand Final

On Wednesday evening, Alfa Romeo’s Nicolas Longuet won emphatically at Suzuka, his first win since 2020, with the Grand Final of the 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship well underway.
The Frenchman started on the front row of the grid alongside the ever-present qualifying expert Thomas Ronhaar, but he got the jump and won the race down to Turn 1.
Ronhaar was a threat in the closing stages and could have won for the third time in 2022 if not for some defensive driving from Jake Benham, which allowed Longuet to extend his lead.
READ MORE: Who will be crowned champion in the thrilling 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship’s final three events?
Longuet and team mate Dani Bereznay were two of just three drivers to start on the mediums – the other being Alpine’s Patrik Sipos – and before long Bereznay made it an Alfa one-two, surpassing Ronhaar for second on Lap 4.
Longuet switched from mediums to hards on Lap 12 after establishing a massive lead. A few laps later, Ronhaar did the opposite, cutting the gap to P1 in half.
However, Ronhaar was significantly slowed by Jake Benham’s Mercedes, which toured the circuit on old tyres, refusing to let the title contender pass.
On Lap 19, the chaos reached a climax, with Bereznay spinning out of the points. Simon Weigang, Daniele Haddad, and Joni Tormala then became entangled, knocking all three out of the top ten.
Out in front, Ronhaar finally got past the wall of Benham, but it was too late, and the Dutchman ran out of laps to catch his rival. Behind the top two, Frede Rasmussen rose quietly to third place, reintroducing himself into title contention.
McLaren Shadow drivers Lucas Blakeley and Bari Boroumand finished in the top five, earning the team its first teams’ championship. The points were completed by Brendon Leigh, Sebastian Job, Matthijs van Erven, Fabrizio Donoso, and Marcel Kiefer.
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Jarno Opmeer, an outside contender for the championship, did not finish the race. Already hampered by being knocked out in Q1, his charge through the field was halted when he spun while racing Donoso. Devastated, he left the session and now sits 34 points behind the title lead – unlikely, but not impossible.
In the drivers’ standings, Ronhaar is just five points behind Blakeley, with Rasmussen a further 14 points off the lead.
The action picks up again on Thursday evening, when we travel to Interlagos, Brazil. Join us for the qualifying show at 1530 UTC, followed by the race at 1900 UTC. For more information, visit the official F1 Esports website.