It was a long time coming… And even if it was only virtual, Louis Delétraz is now an F2 race winner! The Charouz Racing System driver claimed victory on Sunday in Round 3 of F2 Virtual Racing on the Circuit de Monaco following a mature drive.
FIA F2: Congratulations on your win. How does that feel (even if this is only virtual, it must still feel great)?
Louis Delétraz: Thank you. Yes, it was nice! Obviously, I love racing in Monaco. In 2018, I scored a podium after being chased by Markelov, and in 2019 I got another one but this time chasing Anthoine (Hubert). I finally won it in 2020 which, even though it is only virtual, is very nice! I was very happy. There was a lot of pressure all race long. It felt like the real thing. I was even more focused in the sim because you don’t have all the feedback from the car. It’s my first big win in esport. I really enjoyed that!
FIA F2: You started from P4 on an option/prime strategy. Lirim Zendeli was on the opposite one. It appears you picked the winning strategy…
Louis: I did P4 in quali. It’s tough to know how much you can push on a one-lap quali because you never have this in real life. And obviously, in the game, you can touch the wall without any damages so you need to find just exactly how much you can push. I had a good start and took P3 right away. Then I went around the outside of Arthur Leclerc on a move you would never do in real life. It was a really fair fight so thank you to him for giving space so that I could do it. It was good racing. After that, I was chasing Lirim but I did not try anything stupid before my pit stop. I only realised later on that he was on a different strategy. Two or three laps after I boxed, I saw that he wasn’t stopping. We do not have any engineers to tell us what is happening, so I guessed it, but I was not sure. I knew I would undercut because I had a good pace and I could see the gap coming down. Of course, he would be fast at the end of the race with fresher, softer tyres. When he came out of the box, he could not catch me easily. When he got close, he made a mistake and I could pull away. Then I made a mistake and he came back. Obviously, I was under pressure, but I knew that if I did not make a mistake it would be tough for him to pass me unless we crashed. I was on a prime position, I had track place and I could not wait to win!
FIA F2: Lirim kept the pressure on, until he was disconnected. Was that a relief or were you somehow disappointed you could not fight him off until the chequered flag?
Louis: He did keep the pressure all the way. He did really well. But again, I knew I had track position so I was confident. When he disconnected I did not understand straight away. I thought maybe he had to box again or something, for some reasons. Then it was a relief because I had a 19s gap to the closest rival so I knew I would win the race. It’s a shame for Lirim but it made my life easier…
FIA F2: Last year, you were the one chasing after Anthoine. Which one is the hardest: to be chased or to be the chaser?
Louis: The hardest is to be chased. The chaser always has the easy life and the race is always too short for him. When you are the one being chased it’s always too long, so you want it to be over as soon as possible.
FIA F2: You started from P8 in the sprint race with only 5 laps to cover. How was it from the sim?
Louis: I had a good start, but there were some crashes and went P4. Unfortunately, I took Jack Aitken out. I apologised to him immediately after the race and thankfully he was not too angry with me… My bad for that. I was P4 and came back on the lead group. Some of them had time penalties so I classified P2 in the end. I did not do much because 5 laps is a bit too short to overtake, especially in Monaco. I just had a good opening lap and made the best out of the situation.
FIA F2: Shortly after the F2 virtual event, you raced in the F1 virtual GP. How was your race?
Louis: it was difficult and hectic. Qualifying was under the rain. Also, I could not practice much to be honest: the whole week I was not home and I was moving. I just did a bit on Saturday evening and again a bit on Sunday morning. Then it was straight to racing. I’m even happier that I won in F2 and got a double podium all things considered! I must be in a good position in the championship standings. Then F1 is really tough. I qualified 4th and finished 9th with the wrong strategy in the race. I scored some points. I’m quite happy with this result considering the amount of practice I did.
FIA F2: What are the main differences between the two events?
Louis: Just the cars are different, and you need to adapt. Jumping from one car to the other is quite difficult. Your really have to separate it in your head. It’s still a game. You really have to do things correctly with each car and adapt your driving style to it. Also, tyre degradation and strategies are very different so it’s like a completely different challenge.
FIA F2: Next up will be Baku on June 7th. What are the challenges of that track?
Louis: Baku is very tough in the game. You cannot touch the walls. It’s a bit slower if you touch them. It’s a long track and very technical. If you crash in the castle section basically you are stuck in the wall and you don’t go out anymore. So, it will be very interesting. I hope I will be able to do both F2 and F1 again and I hope to do as well as I did last Sunday. The goal is to perform as well as I did in Monaco.