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Esports

F1 Esports: Lucas in title contention after victory in Portimão

Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team's Lucas Blakeley secured his second victory in the 2021 F1 Esports Pro Championship at Portimão to remain in title contention with one event remaining.

2021 F1 Esports

Lucas took one further podium at Zandvoort and points in Austin while team-mate Daniele Haddad navigated a challenging triple-header.

Race Seven: Portimão

Lucas starred in qualifying in the opening race of Event Three by taking pole position while team-mate Daniele placed eighth on the grid.

Starting on the Soft tyre, the Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team duo secured a strong getaway, with Lucas holding the lead into Turn One and Daniele advancing to seventh.

After breaking out of DRS range, Lucas held a firm advantage during his opening stint and pitted at the end of lap nine of 23 for Medium tyres, rejoining in eighth.

Daniele, meanwhile, pitted one lap later for the Mediums and rejoined in 10th.

As various pit strategies unfolded, Lucas regained first on lap 14 and remained unchallenged to score his second victory in the 2021 F1 Esports Pro Championship.

Following his strong start, Daniele lost out to runners on the alternate strategy and fell outside of the top 10 on lap 12 after being forced wide by Alpine's Nicholas Longuet.

Despite making up two places on the final lap, the Italian unfortunately fell just short of a points-paying position in 11th.

Race Eight: Zandvoort

In the second race of Event Three, Lucas started third, and Daniele lined up in 11th.

By starting on the Medium tyre, both opted to run on the alternative strategy and faced a difficult start, with Lucas falling to fourth and Daniele slipping to 14th.

Pursuing the podium runners, Lucas kept pace with the top three despite running on the slower compound and inherited the lead on lap seven after the trio pitted.

On lap eight of 25, Lucas pitted and swapped his Medium tyres for a new set of Softs and rejoined the race in 13th.

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By crucially overtaking Alpine's Patrik Sipos, the British driver advanced to a net fourth position and began chasing the field ahead, overtaking Bari Broumand for a net third place shortly after.

Lucas was close to the rear of Mercedes' Dani Moreno and Red Bull's Frederik Rasmussen but was ultimately unable to overtake and secured third after 25 laps of racing.

After extending his opening stint by pitting on lap 10 for Soft tyres, Daniele rejoined the race in heavy traffic in 16th.

Fighting forward to 12th and with points within reach, Daniele unfortunately collided with Sebastian Job before pitting for repairs to take 20th.

Race Nine: Austin

Lucas secured eighth on the grid for the final race of Event Three, while Daniele narrowly missed out on Q3 to qualify in 12th.

The pair started on the Medium tyres, but endured a challenging opening lap, falling to 10th and 14th on the first tour.

After getting forced wide on lap two, Lucas continued to lose time, and pitted at the end of lap six for Soft tyres, rejoining in clean air in 16th.

Performing the undercut strategy successfully, he recovered into the top five on lap 13 of 20 before falling to seventh after getting overtaken by David Tonizza and Marcel Kiefer.

With Kiefer facing a three-second time penalty, Lucas took sixth at the chequered flag.

On his opening stint, Daniele picked up damage and struggled for pace as a result, finishing in 19th, but with the fastest lap of the race.

Lucas Blakeley, Driver, Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team: "I'm very happy with my performance in Event Three, and it feels fantastic to take my second F1 Esports victory.

"As a new circuit on the calendar, there were a lot of unknowns around Portimão, but our hard work paid off, and that was reflected by the end result.

"At Zandvoort, I unfortunately ran out of tyre life, so third was realistically the best I could achieve, especially because overtaking proved to be difficult.

"Austin was the most challenging race of the three, but after a difficult start, we were able to recover well. I think we can be very happy about our performance in this event, and we're in a good position to fight for the Drivers' Championship title in Event Four."

Daniele Haddad, Driver, Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team: "From my side, Event Three has been very frustrating. I was unlucky to miss out on the points in Portimão, and then contact also cost us a place inside the top 10 at Zandvoort.

"After picking up damage at the start of the race in Austin, there was very little I could do. I want to put this event behind me so I can focus on regrouping to finish the season well in Event Four next month."

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