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Esports

Aston Martin brings home points in the first F1 Esports event

The F1 Esports Pro Championship is back and the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team got off to a great start, securing double figures in the constructors' standings.

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In the first of four events, Simon Weigang and teammate Manuel Biancolilla raced around the Bahrain International Circuit, Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and Silverstone Circuit.

Race One: Bahrain

Starting strong in qualifying, Simon flew all the way to Q3, securing his seventh-place starting position on the grid, whilst Manuel endured some PC issues and therefore started in 20th.

Pushing from the back, Manuel fought all the way to 16th by lap four. Making the Hard tyres last, he was able to jump another position to 15th as he emerged from the pits on lap 21.

For the last seven laps, he was able to push on the Soft tyres, climbing to 12th place, but battled continuously with Nicolas Longuet for 11th. He crossed the line in 12th, but dropped to 16th after penalties were applied for causing avoidable contact.

Simon maintained his position for the first half of the race, unable to move up as he was stuck in the DRS train. Jumping Dani Moreno in the pits, he came out in sixth and pushed on his fresh Medium tyres.

He crossed the finish line in fifth after Thomas Roonhar picked up some damage and dropped down the pack. After Frederik Rasmussen’s penalty for dangerous re-entry was applied, Simon finished in fourth place.

Race Two: Imola

As they lined up for the second race of the year, Simon sat in 11th after just missing out on Q3 in qualifying, whilst Manuel had troubles getting out of Q1, starting 20th on the grid.

A lap-one crash saw Simon forced to go wide to avoid colliding with any cars, picking up an in-game penalty for doing so. After having to slow down to give the position back, he fell down the ranks and sat in 14th at the end of the first lap.

By the end of lap seven, Simon had climbed to 11th while Manuel sat in 18th place. 

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Pitting on lap 16 and swapping the Hard tyres for a set of Mediums, Simon emerged 13th and was able to rise into the top ten, undercutting several drivers.

He crossed the line in ninth and had his penalty rescinded, meaning more points for the team. Manuel crossed the line in 16th.

Race Three: Silverstone

Struggling for pace at the British circuit, Manuel qualified in 19th whilst Simon had his lap time deleted due to track limits, so started in 20th.

There was a scrap for positions on the opening lap, and Simon made the most of this, pushing up to 17th before getting stuck in a DRS train which hampered his ability to overtake.

Manuel was involved in a lap one incident, ending with him off the track and forcing him to retire early in the race.

Going longer on the Hard tyres, Simon swapped to the Medium compound and emerged in 18th with seven laps to go. Crossing the line in P18, the team unfortunately took no points home from Silverstone.

Simon Weigang, Driver, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: "I have mixed emotions after the end of event one. Although I started strong in Bahrain, I didn't finish where I wanted for Imola or Silverstone.

"The pace of the car is competitive, but it is a shame we had problems in qualifying that we couldn't make up for in the race. Overall, we have seen what we can do as a team and know where to improve ready for the next event."

Manuel Biancolilla, Driver, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: "Event one definitely didn't go as I had planned. The practice routine I had used up to event one is something we'll need to review.

"Hardware issues have influenced my consistency, and hopefully next event they won't be there. The pace is definitely there, but there's a lot to improve in one-shot laps, race craft and set-ups.

"I'll get a weekend break from all of it, and then head straight into practice for event two, to come back way stronger."

Miguel Faisca, Team Manager, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: "Having a new driver line-up for this year comes with some challenges and this first event was important to understand our drivers and to know we can help them performs in future races.

"Event one is that time where teams can see how good their preparation was. We went in with no big expectations but came out with an idea of what we need to improve on to become stronger for event two."

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