Russell: Success in Virtual GP earning more publicity than whole of 2019 F1 season

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George Russell admits he has got more publicity from his recent success in the Formula 1 Virtual GP's than the whole of last season.

With the real racing yet to start due to Covid-19, the Briton has capitalised on the equal cars used during F1's eSports events on F1 2019 to claim victories in Spain and Monaco for Williams.

And though he has admitted the video games as just for fun, Russell admits the chance to show his skills in a competitive setting has boosted his reputation.

“In some ways, yes,” he told Sky Sports. “I get more publicity from winning an eSports race than I got from any single Formula 1 race last year by coming around the back of the grid.

“I’m doing everything I can to show the people what I can do. I did that last year and I’ll try and continue to do that.”

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Of course, in his rookie year, Russell was held back by the woeful performance of Williams, with his 21-0 rout of Robert Kubica in qualifying the only signal of his potential.

But after dominating around the virtual streets of Monte Carlo last Sunday, the 21-year-old admits it is good to be winning again.

“It felt great, to be honest I forgot how much of a buzz it is winning, and even though it’s virtually the competitive nature of myself and going up against my pals, and winning it is nice – it’s quite thrilling to be honest,” said Russell.

“So, something I didn’t quite expect prior to all of this, when I first entered esports, so I’m definitely enjoying it at the moment.

Russell makes it two wins in a row with dominant victory in the ...

“I first started off doing it for fun, trying to provide a bit of entertainment for the hardcore F1 fans who are missing racing and don’t have anything to support at the moment and I soon learned that the competition was high.

“I didn’t want to just compete to make up the numbers, I wanted to come in and try and win. And when I struggled in the first race, I thought ‘I need to turn this round and put a bit more effort in’ and here we go now.”