Brendon Leigh (pictured above, right), an 18-year-old gamer from Reading in southern England, collected 74 points to finish best of the 20 finalist competing in an eSports Formula One event in Abu Dhabi.
"Winning here means a huge amount to me. I am the first one to do it. That is special," Leigh said afterwards. "I am not sure how to celebrate. I don't drink or anything: I think I might just go to bed."
Leigh, who had never traveled outside the United Kingdom before participating in the tournament, not only won the inaugural trophy, but also won the right to be a non-driver character in the official F1 2018 video game and earned automatic qualification to the semifinal of next year's tournament. Additionally, the top three gamers had an awards ceremony on the podium on which the real drivers were honored after Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Around 63,000 contestants entered the competition back in September by competing on the Playstation4, Xbox One and Windows PC platforms.
"The attraction to a broad and committed younger generation of F1 and eSport fans is something that we are proud to support and nurture," Formula One's commercial manager, Sean Bratches said in a statement. "We look forward to establishing a season-long series in 2018."