What time is the F1 race, what TV channel is it on and what are the odds?

Channel 4 have confirmed a deal to broadcast Sunday’s Formula 1 season finale live on free-to-air TV after reaching a deal with Sky to share the rights.

The grand prix in Abu Dhabi pits Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, seeking a record eighth title, against Red Bull’s young charger Max Verstappen, who is aiming for his maiden title, in a winner-takes-all battle.

The two drivers head into the race level on points, although Verstappen would win the title on countback should neither driver finish due to his tally of nine victories this season to Hamilton’s eight.

Since Hamilton won his third race on the spin in Saudi Arabia last weekend, calls had been growing for the finale to be shown on free-to-air TV to maximise the number of people who can watch.

The race in Jeddah attracted record viewing figures on Sky Sports F1 of 2.66 million, but that number will be dwarfed now that Sunday’s race is being shown free-to-air.

Channel 4 is normally limited to a highlights package but is expected to be allowed to do a pre- and post-race show, switching to Sky’s commentary for the race itself.

Sky chief executive, UK and Europe, Stephen van Rooyen said: “Sunday’s Grand Prix is one of the biggest sporting events in the last decade, and could be a historic moment for British sport.

“We’ve chosen to gift the race to the whole country at Christmas through our partnership with Channel 4, so everyone can be part of a huge national moment as Lewis Hamilton goes for a historic eighth World Championship title.”

Formula One president Stefano Domenicali added: “We are excited that Sky will make the Grand Prix on Sunday available to Channel 4 viewers so everyone can tune in live for the thrilling finale to this epic season.”

MPs and peers on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Motorsport had led calls for Sunday’s race to be made available to the nation less than 24 hours after Hamilton beat Verstappen in the Saudi Arabian GP to draw level on points with his championship rival in one of the most dramatic races the sport has seen.

Channel 4 previously struck a deal with Sky to simulcast the 2019 Cricket World Cup final – won by England – and did the same with Amazon for this year’s US Open women’s singles final – which witnessed a fairytale triumph for Emma Raducanu.

When is it?

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend runs from Friday, December 10 until Sunday, December 12. 

What time does the race start?

First practice on Friday, December 10 starts at 9.30am with second practice at 1pm. Final practice is at 10am on Saturday, December 11 with qualifying at 1pm. 

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix itself starts at 1pm on Sunday, December 12.

Will Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen win the F1 world title?

The 2021 Formula One season has been one of the finest in recent memory with Verstappen and Hamilton going head-to-head for much of the year.

Red Bull’s Verstappen and Mercedes’ Hamilton are level on points heading into the title decider at Yas Marina after a tempestuous and controversial season. This means whoever finishes higher out of the two will claim the title.

It would be Hamilton’s eighth world title while it would be Verstappen’s first.

Hamilton is favourite to come out on top, having won races at Yas Marina on a previous five occasions. However, Verstappen has also had success in Abu Dhabi, winning in 2020 which was his second win on the track.

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