2021 F1 Brazilian GP and sprint race – how to watch, session timings and more

Formula 1 makes a belated comeback to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, the 19th round of the 2021 season on the 12-14 November.

2021 F1 Brazilian GP and sprint race – how to watch, session timings and more

The Brazilian round hosts the middle leg of a triple-header, officially called the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, following last weekend’s Mexican GP where Max Verstappen claimed a dominant victory ahead of F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton to extend his advantage to 19 points at the top of the drivers’ championship. 

Brazil will also host the third and final sprint race weekend on the 2021 F1 calendar, with the weekend format being shaken-up by the trial.

Both previous sprint race rounds have been remembered for dramatic crashes between the F1 title protagonists in Sunday’s grand prix, with Verstappen suffering a heavy hit with the barriers at Silverstone as Hamilton went on to recover from a subsequent penalty to win his home race.

At the second sprint race weekend, both Verstappen and Hamilton failed to finish the grand prix at Monza when they clashed on-track, resulting in the Red Bull driver’s car landing on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes and the Dutchman being handed a post-race penalty for the next race in Russia.

As a result, the third sprint race weekend is eagerly anticipated to see how it mixes up the action, while F1 also makes its delayed return to Interlagos having missed the 2020 race due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10 leads Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90 at the restart

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10 leads Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90 at the restart

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

What is F1’s sprint race?

F1’s sprint race is essentially a shortened version of a normal race, run over a shorter 100km distance and with no mandatory pitstops, compared to F1’s usual 305km grand prix distance (with the exception of the Monaco GP). Here’s a full explanation on how F1’s sprint qualifying race will work

Sprint races are used in many other series to spice up the action, including in F1’s feeder series Formula 2, albeit with variants of its own. For example, in F2 the sprint race is 120km and the feature race covers 170km, though are usually no less exciting.

F1’s first-ever sprint race, which took place at Silverstone, was won by Red Bull’s Verstappen ahead of Mercedes’ Hamilton. The Dutch driver overtook his world title rival on the opening lap before defending his position to gain the official pole position for the grand prix, and three world championship points for winning the sprint, after Hamilton started on pole for the sprint race. Hamilton picked up two points for finishing runner-up in the sprint, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas gaining one point for finishing in third place. 

In F1’s second sprint race at Monza, Valtteri Bottas won the sprint from Verstappen and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, but the Finn started the grand prix from the back of the gird due to a power unit change penalty.

F1’s sprint event on Saturday afternoon will be a straightforward 100km race, which tallies up to 24 laps at Interlagos, with the finishing order setting the final grid for the grand prix on Sunday. The race is expected to last around 30 minutes, ‘timed out’ after 60 minutes in total and if the session is red-flagged the maximum total time of the session will be 90 minutes.

The starting order for the sprint event will be decided by qualifying, run in the traditional Q1, Q2 and Q3 format, held on Friday evening. The only major change will be the drivers will only use soft tyres for the session.

Two practice sessions will also be run at the Brazilian GP, one before qualifying on Friday and one on Saturday before the sprint race later that afternoon.

Drivers will also have a free choice of tyres for the sprint race with Pirelli providing a soft, medium and hard (at Interlagos this will be the middle three options in its range: C2, C3 and C4) as well as intermediate and wet weather tyres if needed.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, and Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, and Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

What time does the sprint race start at the Brazilian GP?

The sprint race for the Brazilian GP starts at 4.30pm local time (7.30pm GMT) on Saturday 13th November and is expected to last 30 minutes.

Date: Saturday 13th November 2021
Start time: 4.30pm local time – 7.30pm GMT

How many laps will the sprint race be at the Brazilian GP?

24 laps – Interlagos

With the F1 sprint qualifying races covering 100km, it adds up to 24 laps of Monza’s 4.309km grand prix circuit layout.

Do points get awarded for the sprint races?

F1 world championship points will also be up for grabs in the F1 sprint race. The winner will claim three points, with the runner-up taking two points and third place gaining one point. There will be no bonus point for the fastest lap.

In Sunday’s main event at the Brazilian GP, the regular points scoring system will remain in place for both the drivers’ and constructors’ world championships, including the bonus point for fastest lap for a driver finishing inside the top 10.

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso STR14, leads Lando Norris, McLaren MCL34, Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP19, Nico Hulkenberg, Renault F1 Team R.S. 19, and Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-19

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso STR14, leads Lando Norris, McLaren MCL34, Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP19, Nico Hulkenberg, Renault F1 Team R.S. 19, and Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-19

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Full 2021 Brazilian GP session timings

Friday 12th November 2021

Free Practice 1: 3:30pm-4:30pm GMT (12:30pm-1:30pm local)
Qualifying: 7:00pm-8:00pm GMT (4:00pm-5:00pm local)

Saturday 13th November 2021

Free Practice 2: 3:00pm-4:00pm GMT (12:00pm-1:00pm local)
Sprint: 7:30pm-8:00pm GMT (4:30pm-5:00pm local)

Sunday 14th November 2021

Race: 5:00pm GMT (2:00pm local)

How can I watch the Brazilian GP?

  • Channel: Sky Sports F1 HD
  • Channel numbers - Sky: 406
  • Channel numbers - Virgin Media: 506 (Sky Sports F1 HD)

Sky Sports has live and exclusive broadcasting rights in the United Kingdom, with the build-up to the F1 race starting from 3:30pm ahead of lights out at 5:00pm.

When can I watch the Brazilian GP highlights?

  • Channel: Channel 4
  • Start time: Saturday sprint – 11:20pm, Sunday race – 11:00pm

Channel 4 has the rights to show Brazilian GP highlights of the sprint race on Saturday and the main race on Sunday.

Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR14, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10, race towards the chequered flag

Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR14, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10, race towards the chequered flag

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Will the Brazilian GP be on the radio?

Live radio coverage of every practice, qualifying and race for the 2021 F1 season will be available on the BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra stations or via the BBC Sport website.

Coverage of the Brazilian GP will start at 5:00pm GMT on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sounds app.

Weather forecast for the Brazilian GP

Sao Paulo is set for largely dry and cloudy weather conditions throughout the race weekend, with a small chance of sunny spells on each day of track action. Highs of 23 degrees Celsius are predicted on Sunday – five degrees cooler than the hottest conditions at the Mexican GP.

Most F1 Brazilian GP wins

Alain Prost: 6 wins (1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
Michael Schumacher: 4 wins (1994, 1995, 2000, 2002)
Sebastian Vettel: 3 wins (2010, 2013, 2017)
Carlos Reutemann: 3 wins (1977, 1978, 1981)*

*Also won a non-championship race in 1972

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