Guanyu Zhou won the inaugural Virtual Grand Prix, beating out a star-studded grid which included fellow F2 racer Robert Shwartzman, as well as Lando Norris, Nico Hulkenberg and Sir Chris Hoy.
The Chinese racer was one of two F2 racers taking part in the virtual Bahrain Grand Prix and qualified third ahead of Shwartzman in eighth.
The event was coined to give motorsport fans their racing fix, with a 14-lap battle of the Bahrain International Circuit. The drivers all joined remotely and pitted themselves against each other on the F1 2019 video game.
“It was a really cool feeling to be part of the F1 game racing yesterday,” Zhou explained. “To come home with victory was something I didn’t expect but am really happy with. Going into the event I wanted a podium, but after seeing my qualifying performance, I knew I had a chance for the race win.
The UNI-Virtuosi ace was suited and booted ahead of the race, showing off his overalls and helmet in a social media clip. Those preparations appeared to put Zhou in the right mindset, as he started the race well and avoided an opening corner collision to remain in third, before firing past Johnny Herbert and Philipp Eng for the lead.
The duo diced back and forth for the majority of the race, only briefly dropping out of the top three. The Renault F1 junior eventually came out of the battle on top, finishing ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and Eng.
“In the race I literally went for it, took my time at the beginning, playing around with the guy in the lead. I employed a good pit strategy which gave me an eight-second lead and just controlled the race from there.
“It felt great to get back to racing, where you attack, where you focus and where you try to get the best out of yourself. To be racing against all of the F1 drivers who took part, the ex-F1 drivers involved and the famous people who raced as well, that was something that made the event even cooler.”