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Esports

F1 Esports: Podiums at Silverstone and Monza

Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team's Lucas Blakeley picked up back-to-back podiums across the Silverstone and Monza races to keep the team firmly in F1 Esports Pro Championship title contention at the mid-season point.

2021 F1 Esports

Team-mate Daniele Haddad was able to provide points-scoring finishes in Monza and Spa-Francorchamps to help the team hold third in the Constructors' Championship.

Race Four: Silverstone

Lucas Blakeley played a starring role in a late three-driver battle for victory in the Silverstone opener, sealing his second podium of the campaign.

The British driver qualified third for the race and, while he briefly lost a position to Bari Broumand off the line, he quickly set about hunting down the leading duo.

Pitting later than some of his challengers, Lucas switched from the Medium to Soft tyres for the final stint and pursued race-winner Frederik Rasmussen and Dani Moreno to the finish.

Chasing through Vale and Club, Lucas almost grabbed second from Moreno to seal second place, but third ensured a home podium.

Daniele Haddad bounced back from a challenging qualifying and gained four places on the opening lap, moving from 15th to 11th.

The Italian continued to make good progress until late issues resulted in 19th.

Race Five: Monza

Lucas secured back-to-back podiums with third place, while team-mate Daniele battled his way through a classic Monza DRS train to score points.

After the customary pinch-point through the first chicane, Lucas joined the train of cars fighting for victory in fifth.

Halfway through the race, he looked set for third, but aggressive moves by Alpine's Fabrizio Donoso and Nicolas Longuet cost momentum.

After briefly falling to seventh, Lucas rallied to finish third following penalties applied across the field.

Team-mate Daniele made a superb recovery drive after starting in 15th, with the highlight a two-place gain into the first chicane late on.

A strong final lap completed the points-finish as Daniele dived down the inside line at Curva Alboreto to secure ninth, overcoming Álvaro Carretón after a lengthy duel.

Race Six: Spa-Francorchamps

Lucas was unfortunate to have his best lap time deleted in qualifying, leaving him 10th on the grid and one place behind Daniele.

Challenging wet conditions meant strategy proved crucial, and the duo started on the Full Wet tyre, facilitating an early charge through the field.

Lucas climbed all the way to sixth before pitting to switch to Intermediates, but a congested pitlane, and rivals opting to run the race without a single stop, hampered his second stint.

It was a similar story for Daniele who ran the longest stint of all but one other driver before switching to Intermediates.

The pair rallied to climb from the rear of the field. Lucas pulled off a succession of overtakes to finish in sixth, while Daniele crossed the line 10th.

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Lucas Blakeley, Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team Driver: "Starting this event with two podiums was incredible, and Silverstone was a very satisfying race. I managed to qualify P3, and I think it was my best-ever qualifying lap in F1 Esports. In the race, I managed to hold on to a podium. I could have taken some risks to get second, but the goal was to bank the podium and score great points.

"At Monza, I qualified strongly in P4, but I was disappointed not to grab pole – I made a few errors. In the race, I fell back to P5, but I managed to recover. Unfortunately, I was in an Alpine sandwich afterwards, so I couldn't progress. Ultimately, we still got the podium after post-race penalties elsewhere.

"Spa was challenging. The race was tricky in the wet, as several drivers stayed on the Intermediate throughout and made gains, whereas we started on the wets and made a pitstop. Throughout the event our pace was consistently strong, so we enter the next event on a high."

Daniele Haddad, Aston Martin Cognizant Esports Team Driver: "At Silverstone, I was disappointed by some of the wheel-to-wheel racing. For the second time this season, my race was ruined by factors outside of my control, and it was even more disappointing as we’d had such a strong strategy.

"Overall, I wasn't happy with my performances in qualifying, especially in Monza. I had a lap good enough for Q3 cancelled due to track limits because I'd gone over the limit by a millimetre. I started P15, but we were able to make up places to get ninth, which proves we have good race pace.

"Spa was a more difficult race. The strategy went against us, and there was only so much we could do, although I think I drove a very strong race personally. Overall, we scored good points this event, and we'll aim for more next time out."

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