F1 Esports is at the halfway mark of the 2020 season, and several storylines have emerged from the first two events.
It looks like we are in for a new Drivers Champion this season, as Alfa Romeo's Jarno Opmeer leads the way from the Red Bull duo Marcel Kiefer and Frederik Rasmussen.
Sat in fourth in the Championship though, is a name not many would have expected to see... Nicolas Longuet.
We had the chance to talk to him ahead of the next event.
From backup to #1
The Frenchman was drafted by Red Bull in 2019, and didn't get many chances to shine. When he was on track though, he delivered.
A podium in Monza last season helped Red Bull claim the Team Championship.
"Last year was a learning opportunity" said Longuet.
A move to Renault followed, where Longuet looked like he would be in the shadow of Opmeer. The Dutchman moved to Alfa Romeo though, and suddenly Renault looked like they might be on shaky ground.
But Longuet has made sure that isn't the case.
With razor-fine margins between each driver this year, the smallest error can be the difference between fighting for a podium and being at the back.
"Qualifying is crucial." says Longuet, who has made sure to nail that part of the event from day 1.
He took pole in the first race at Bahrain and was on top again in Vietnam before the lap was deleted. At Zandvoort he was P3, and he's only qualified outside the top 10 once.
Those performances have set Longuet up for a string of quality results. He battled all the way with David Tonizza in Vietnam and claimed second place, and has finished 4th or 5th four times too.
Sitting in fourth in the championship, Longuet has been the driving force behind a Renault team that is currently third in the Teams Championship.
Proving his mettle
It's not just in the hot lapping that Longuet has been a star. On track he's got the job done against the very best.
His lap-after-lap battling with Tonizza in Vietnam was an epic duel. Longuet topped that with a several-corner, wheel-to-wheel fight with Brendon Leigh in Zandvoort which has to be Overtake of the Season.
Longuet says the opportunity with Renault has been a chance to prove he belongs on the F1 Esports grid, and it's an opportunity he has grabbed with both hands.
His first win is yet to come, though it has been tantilisingly close. It's sure to come sooner rather than later as he tries to get involved in the battle for the Drivers title this year.
Longuet has been the breakout star of this season without question, and we can't wait to see what's next for the Renault driver.
Watch Event 3 of the F1 Esports Pro Series presented by Aramco on 18-19 November live on F1’s official Facebook, YouTube and Twitch channels. For full info on how to watch visit https://www.f1esports.com/
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