Charles Leclerc wins virtual F1 race as Ben Stokes takes a spin

England cricket star Ben Stokes endured a tough time behind the wheel as Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc won the second Formula One Esports Virtual Grand Prix.

With the F1 season halted by the coronavirus pandemic, the sport launched a virtual series to keep fans entertained.

A number of current stars were on the track for the second instalment on Sunday, when Cricket World Cup hero Stokes placed 18th in a field of high-profile drivers.

After a challenging race, he posted on Twitter: “It’s the taking part that counts… it’s what I always tell my kids.”

Stokes was quick to laugh off his performance, especially when Stuart Broad posted a video of him coming off the track on lap four which saw him fall off the pace after an encouraging start.

“Killed me this,” he wrote with some accompanying hand-over-face emojis.

It was Ferrari driver Leclerc that topped the podium thanks to a great display on the Albert Park track, finishing ahead of Formula 2 driver Christian Lundgaard and Williams’ George Russell.

The 22-year-old, who has won two F1 races away from the virtual sphere, only started playing the F1 2019 video game last Sunday, although he has dedicated around five hours each day to it since.

“It was unbelievably hard,” Leclerc said after winning the virtual race.

“Honestly, we are sitting on a chair, so there is not even the G-force we have in a real car but actually I am sweating like crazy.

“The muscles are not hurting but the concentration and everything, I’ve been sweating a lot and it’s very hard. Great race”

Former world champion Jenson Button finished 11th in his McLaren on his debut.

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