As Simon fought for points in the final few races of the year, Manuel and John both suffered damage in their races, jeopardising their chances to maximise their results.
Race Ten: Suzuka
Both drivers had a strong start to qualifying, easily pushing through to the second segment. Unfortunately, technical difficulties meant Manuel would start 14th, while Simon narrowly missed out on a spot in Q3 in 11th.
Simon pushed from the start and gained two positions in the opening few corners to move him up into the points-paying places in ninth. Simon moved up one more space to eighth before the pitstops began with him switching from the Hard tyres to the Mediums. Ending up three-wide on lap 19 out of 27, contact with other drivers caused him to go wide off track and lose places and pace.
After Jake Benham finally pitted on lap 20, Simon moved up to 10th and into the points. Two-time World Champion Jarno Opmeer was on his tail not long after though and overtook him to force Simon back out the points. He finished in 11th but a post-race penalty moved him down to 14th.
Chaos in the middle of the pack led to Manuel picking up wing damage on lap one, falling from 15th to 18th. Pitting on lap 12 out of 27 to switch from the Hard tyres to Medium compound, he fought hard to climb five places to finish in 14th on track – 13th after other drivers’ penalties were applied.
Race Eleven: Interlagos
Incredibly close margins in qualifying led to Simon missing out on Q2 by two hundredths of a second leaving him to start the race from 16th. John finished only six hundredths behind his teammate but, with such a close field, that resulted in him start in 20th.
Rain fell as the race began and the guys battled towards the back of the pack. By lap three of 36, Simon had battled back up to 16th after losing positions at the start. John moved up one place to 19th in the early stages.
Tough battles and close margins in F1 Esports Event Three
As F1 Esports took one last stop in Europe before heading across the pond to Mexico and Circuit of the Americas, the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports team battled hard for points.
As the rain started to dry up, drivers started to pit. Simon came in on lap 14 to change from his Intermediates, but a technical glitch meant he left the pitlane on the same compound. John pitted two laps later to change from his Intermediate tyres to Mediums. Simon had to pit for a second time to change his Intermediates to Mediums, and emerged in 20th.
Piotr Stachulec pitted on lap 23 and subsequently retired in the pits, moving Simon up to 19th. John maintained his position in 17th until the penultimate lap where Josh Idowu and Brendon Leigh both pitted, moving John up to 15th. Once post-race penalties had been applied, John finished in 14th with Simon in 19th.
Race Twelve: Yas Marina
The final qualifying session of 2022 was another close one; John put in a good time to come 11th in Q1, while Simon unfortunately couldn’t piece his lap together and started 19th. In Q2, John finished less than two tenths of a second behind the fastest time but missed out and he started in 15th.
As the race began, the drivers battled from the rear of the pack: Simon moved up to 18th on the opening few corners, while John suffered massive wing damage in Turn Five. This caused John to have to pit at the end of lap one, changing from Hard tyres to Mediums and falling down the pack and onto a two-stop strategy.
Simon's strategy featured a long stint on the Hard tyres and he was briefly leading the race on lap 20 before making his pitstop on lap 23, emerging in 15th place. Multiple pitstops for several cars meant John was able to climb positions in the final few laps, crossing the line in 16th with Simon just ahead in 15th to round out the season.
Simon Weigang, Driver, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: "I qualified well at Suzuka, starting 11th and in a completely chaotic race we fought to finish ninth, but we unfortunately lost that due to post race penalties. Technical difficulties In Brazil saw me out in Q1 and I could not recover in the race. Similarly in Abu Dhabi, I could not piece the lap together to escape Q1 and failed to reach the points in the race."
John Evans, Driver, Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Esports Team: "It was a tough event, in Brazil I did not feel comfortable going into qualifying as I had the pace, but the consistency was not there and I struggled to get into the points from where I started. In Abu Dhabi, missing out on Q3 by half a tenth was hard but I was determined to fight back. Getting damage on the opening lap was not what I had hoped for, or how I wanted to end this series."
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