PSGL F1 PC S34: Blakeley brilliance in Bahrain in PSGL’s record-breaking curtain opener 

The first official Premier Sim Gaming Leagues league event on the new F1 23 platform had the most recent F1 Esports champion, Lucas Blakeley, in Bahrain victory lane.

Premier Sim Gaming League’s PC championship began last night at the Sakhir International Circuit, with the drama continuing from last season’s dramatic title finale. 

Lucas Blakeley took a dominant victory at the track where he has picked up the last two wins in F1 Esports, with all the drama occurring behind. 

The reigning champion Broumand, who had taken four of the previous five wins in the opening race of PSGL, was five seconds behind his former teammate in second, with Fabrizio Donoso completing the podium. 


In Q1, the big shock was two Mercedes Esports drivers getting eliminated. Dani Bereznay and Jake Benham could only manage 16th and 18th after poor final laps. Luke Smith began his F1 23 campaign between the Mercedes pair, with Shanaka Clay and Dylan Warren completing the bottom five on the back row. 

Two further shocks occurred in Q2. Frede Rasmussen invalided both his laps and started down in 15th: the Dane lining up next to his former teammate Nicolas Longuet. Alvaro Carreton missed out on Q3 by the barest of margins, as did John Evans and Patrik Sipos down in 12th and 13th after mistakes on their respective laps.  

New game, but the two title rivals from Season 32 continued their rivalry to lock out the front row, with Thomas Ronhaar taking pole position ahead of Bari Broumand by 0.042 seconds.

Six drivers were within a tenth of pole position, with Lucas Blakeley and Brendon Leigh on the second row and Jarno Opmeer and Alfie Butcher behind them. Fabrizio Donoso impressed throughout qualifying to line up seventh, ahead of Marcel Kiefer, Wilson Hughes, and Otis Lawrence, completing the top 10. 


Off the line, Ronhaar got a poor start after going past his grid slot on the formation lap and got swamped by Broumand, Blakeley, and his teammate Leigh: the two Alfa Romeo drivers opting for the mediums. 

Rasmussen chose the soft tyres further down, making a lightning start from 15th, moving up to ninth by the end of the opening lap. The Dane continued his forward momentum and passed Butcher and Carreton in successive laps. 

Out in front, there was overtakes left, right and centre, with F1 23’s new slipstream effect causing plenty of drama at the front. A 1-2 for Alfa Romeo swiftly turned into a 1-4 after Broumand forced Leigh onto the kerb, causing Opmeer to avoid a potential collision and Blakeley to sweep past the pair at Turn 3.

After dropping behind Opmeer, Leigh was the first to pit of the leading group on Lap 9, with Ronhaar following his teammate in on the next lap. The loss of DRS on the Ferrari meant Blakeley eased into the lead on Lap 11, which he retained until the pit stop phase. 

Lap 14, the race turned on its head with Lawrence, a pit-stop behind Ronhaar and Leigh, fighting for his position to help his teammates in front: reminiscent of Matthijs van Erven’s defence of Nicolas Longuet in last season’s title finale. 

As Ronhaar and Lawrence fought through Turn 6, neither gave up the position resulting in the pair spinning out, costing them a heap of time. 

Broumand jumped Blakeley in the pit-stop phase after opting for the undercut on Lap 13, but the Scotsman retained a net position of third after a brilliant in-lap, with Jarno Opmeer and Alfie Butcher extending their stints in the hope of cutting through the field at the end of the race. 

Within three laps, the former teammates cut the four-second gap between themselves and Leigh, with Blakeley passing at the perfect opportunity as the Iranian got stuck behind for another lap and fell out of the DRS range of the McLaren ahead. 

Carreton and Donoso had pitted the same time as the pair but got stuck behind Rasmussen, Longuet, and Warren, who had gone for an aggressive undercut to try and get into the leading pack. 

Ten laps to go, Opmeer and Butcher entered the pit lane for a set of mediums and soft tyres respectively, coming out directly behind Ronhaar. The Dutch pair have an intensive rivalry, showcased by Ronhaar fighting for every position despite Opmeer’s huge tyre advantage. 

The two-time F1 Esports champion went off the track after the Alfa Romeo driver shut the door at Turn 8, but the traction on the fresh tyres meant the inevitable move occurred at Turn 9 with an Alonso-esque move to get into 12th. 

Donoso and Carreton continued charging through the field, passing the trio mentioned earlier and the struggling Leigh, whose strategy had not paid off for the first F1 Esports champion. 

Whilst they had their eyes on the podium, so did Opmeer, who was making light work of drivers on older tyres, passing Hughes, Benham, Clay, Longuet, Leigh, Rasmussen, and Warren within three laps and into the top five with five laps to go. 

The 2-second gap closed quickly on the trio of Donoso, Broumand and Carreton, but the four-time PSGL champion could not make the same impact and got stuck behind the Spaniard. Onto the final lap, Broumand passed Donoso into Turn 1 in the battle for second place, with the action kicking off behind. 

Leigh fended off a late charge from Rasmussen, Longuet and Bereznay after the quartet chopped and changed positions throughout the final lap: Bereznay managed to get ahead of his former teammate and Rasmussen.

Out in front, there was no drama for Blakeley, who returned to winning ways in dominant fashion in his first competitive race on F1 23. 

Broumand and Donoso completed the podium, with Opmeer pipping Carreton to fourth at the final corner. Leigh finished in sixth after Warren’s track limits penalty dropped him to eighth behind Bereznay. 

Longuet and Rasmussen had eventful races and secured the final two spots in the points to complete the point scorers in the opening race of Season 34. 

Next up, a trip to the Circuit of the Americas for Round 2 of Premier Sim Gaming League top PC tier. 


1. Lucas Blakeley – McLaren 

2. Bari Broumand – Ferrari 

3. Fabrizio Donoso – Aston Martin 

4. Jarno Opmeer – Mercedes 

5. Alvaro Carreton – Williams 

6. Brendon Leigh – Alfa Romeo 

7. Dani Bereznay – Haas 

8. Dylan Warren – Alpha Tauri 

9. Nicolas Longuet – Ferrari 

10. Frede Rasmussen – Red Bull

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