Esports-Leigh's F1 reign ends as Tonizza extends lead for Ferrari

LONDON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Brendon Leigh’s hopes of a third successive Formula One Esports championship have been dashed after the Mercedes driver ended Wednesday’s penultimate live event mathematically out of contention.

Ferrari’s David Tonizza meanwhile extended his Pro Series lead to 26 points with three races still to come next month.

The Italian had started event three at London’s GFinity Arena with a 12-point lead over Red Bull’s Danish gamer Frederik Rasmussen.

After virtual races at Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, Tonizza took his points tally to 146 with Rasmussen on 120 and Renault’s Jarno Opmeer on 103.

British gamer Leigh, winner of the inaugural F1 esports championship and again in 2018 when the sport’s real teams got involved and he joined Mercedes, was in sixth place on 56 points.

The scoring is the same as in real Formula One, with 25 points for a win and a bonus point available for the fastest race lap.

Hungarian Daniel Bereznay, Leigh’s 2018 Mercedes esports team mate, won two of Wednesday’s two rounds for the Alfa Romeo team, their first victories of the season.

Red Bull led the teams’ standings with 181 points to Ferrari’s 146, Tonizza having scored all the Italians’ points to date.

The final three races to decide the titles will be held in London on Dec. 4, three days after the end of the real Formula One season in Abu Dhabi.

The prize fund has more than doubled from 2018 to a total of $500,000. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)