1m+ views for esport races on day of cancelled Grand Prix


Records broken as more than a million views recorded for two esport races featuring Max Verstappen and Lando Norris after the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix

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Esport races, featuring F1 drivers and gamers recorded more than a million views over the weekend, as fans watched virtual racing after the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix.

Viewing records were broken as F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris joined other professional drivers and gamers in two Sunday afternoon tournaments, which were shown live on YouTube and the streaming service Twitch.

More than 60,000 people viewed Lando Norris’ video feed live, watching the McLaren driver on Twitch as he battled from the back of the grid over 29 laps of the Melbourne track in the “Not the… Aus GP”, run by Veloce esports, using the F1 2019 game. At one point, his was the most viewed channel on the platform.

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The full race stream had been watched more than 300,000 times in the 12 hours after the event, while other racers streamed the race to thousands of fans. Gamer aarava’s in-car footage alone was seen more than 100,000 times.

The Veloce event followed the All Star Esports Battle earlier in the day, which has so far attracted more than half a million views. Esports analysts Stream Hatchet said that the event, consisting of three heats and one final, had 90 per cent more live viewers than any previous esports racing event.

The races featured Max Verstappen, as well as Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist, Formula E’s Antonio Felix da Costa, and veteran racer Juan Pablo Montoya.

Both races saw gamers take victory, with Jernej Simoncic, a regular winner on the esports circuit, finishing first in the All Star event. Verstappen was pushed into a spin at the start and finished 11th.

Daniel Bereznay, an F1 sports driver for Sauber, led from pole to take victory ahead of second-placed Jarno Opmeer, who races in the Formula Renault Eurocup, as well as for Renault in esports competition.

The field also included Norris, Stoffel Vandoorne, who now races in Formula E, Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez, and Thibaut Courtois, the Real Madrid goalkeeper.