On Friday evening in the final race of the season McLaren Shadow’s Lucas Blakeley won the 2022 F1 Esports Series Pro Championship. McLaren Shadow has also been crowned the Constructors Champions for 2022 for the first time, clinching the title with two races to go after a brilliant season for Blakeley and his ever-present teammate Bari Boroumand.
The Grand Final began with five drivers battling for the championship, with only 22 points seperating Blakeley at the top and last years’ champion, Jarno Opmeer in fifth. Blakeley’s teammate Boroumand, Haas rookie Thomas Ronhaar and Red Bull’s Frede Rasmussen were the other three drivers in contention for the title. The Constructors’ Championship was also still to be decided going into the Grand Final, but McLaren Shadow had a dominant lead on Red Bull and Mercedes.
On Wednesday, the Pro Championship visited Suzuka in what was a entertaining encounter, full of exciting, wheel-to-wheel racing. It was Ronhaar who started the race on pole but Alfa Romeo’s Nicolas Longuet came out victorious, getting his first race win of the season as the Haas driver and Rasmussen made up the rest of the podium. Opmeer was unable to continue his impressive form from the previous event and his title hopes came to an end after not being able to finish the race. McLaren Shadow clinched the Constructors’ Championship at Suzuka with Blakeley and Boroumand finishing 4th and 5th respectively.
Blakeley went on to secure his fourth win of the season in the penultimate race at Interlagos, which began in wet conditions. The Scotsman, who started on pole in a McLaren 1-2, was able to hold his position at the front, avoiding the battling going on behind him between two of his title rivals, with Rasmussen and Boroumand eventually securing P2 and P3, with the latter’s title hopes ending due to results around him. Meanwhile, the other title contender, Ronhaar, had a disappointing race for his standards, finishing sixth after starting the race in fifth – however, this result still kept the Dutchman’s title hopes alive.
This meant in the final race of the season, it was all to play for at the Yas Marina Circuit, with Blakeley (169 points) needing just five points to secure the title, ahead of Rasmussen (148) and Ronhaar (147). It started with a surprise as AlphaTauri’s Josh Idowu got his first pole position of the season, crowning what has been an impressive season for the former McLaren driver. However, the title-chasing trio took up the three spots behind him so it was set-up for a tense race to the finish line, especially with a mix of tyre strategies at play. Ronhaar, who started in P2, took the lead before the pit stops, with Red Bull’s Marcel Kiefer also playing a role in keeping the Haas man behind him in an attempt to boost his teammate’s title chances. Rasmussen soon took the lead and held on to it until the end, with Ronhaar and Idowu making up the top three, but it wasn’t enough as Blakeley took P4 and secured his first ever F1 Esports Series Pro Championship title, culminating in several years of determination and improvement from the Scotsman.