Renault DP World F1 Team Test Driver Guanyu Zhou claimed a brilliant victory in the inaugural Virtual Formula 1 Grand Prix held on the Bahrain International Circuit last night, which saw international golfer and DP World Global Ambassador Ian Poulter race for the team.
The race was organised and hosted by Formula 1 as a replacement for the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix to give fans some entertainment with current Formula 1 drivers, Reserve drivers, junior members and celebrities on show.
And, after charging from third on the grid, Zhou passed Red Bull Racing’s Phillip Eng in a two-way battle midway through the 14-lap race and never looked back on his lead, eventually holding off the Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne who finished second ahead of Eng.
Poulter missed the cut and ended his debut in Renault colours outside the top 10, but enjoyed some entertaining on-track battles with Olympic legend Chris Hoy and star singer Liam Payne who were also amongst the celebrity contingent.
Well over 300,000 viewers tuned in online for the event, which was also broadcasted on Sky Sports F1.
Guanyu Zhou: “I’m extremely happy as I did not think I was going to take victory! Everything just went well on the night. Qualifying was smooth and I was fastest on the medium tyres. In the race, I kept out of the carnage on the first lap, tried to be patient and not do silly things. I was looking at the drivers map to see when I should pit to find a clean window, which I did, and I controlled the race from then. I’m super happy to bring the first race of the year home with a victory!”