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F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Start time, how to watch, & more

Max Verstappen will start from pole position for the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit. Here's how and when you can watch the race.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The Red Bull driver produced a stunning lap to take his 10th pole position of the season, beating title rival Lewis Hamilton by 0.371s who will join him on the front row for the finale.

With both drives on equal points going into the title decider, the simple equation is whoever finishes in front between Verstappen and Hamilton will seal the title, unless both finish outside of the points then Verstappen will be declared world champion on countback through most wins over the season.

After a tense climax to the 2021 F1 finale, both Red Bull and Mercedes have tempered their rivalry which at times has overboiled this year, with both aiming for a fair fight to decide the outcome of the world championship.

Red Bull pulled off a well-executed tow strategy in Q3 to give both drivers a top speed boost along Yas Marina’s long back straight, while team boss Christian Horner called Verstappen’s pole lap “insane”.

Hamilton also gave credit to Verstappen to his best Q3 lap, while stating he feels “a million times better” for this year’s title decider compared to his 2016 title fight against former Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. 

Behind the title contenders, Lando Norris pulled off a surprise third place for McLaren, beating Sergio Perez who had to settle for fourth place for Red Bull, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr taking fifth place in Q3.

That left Valtteri Bottas in sixth place for Mercedes, with the Finn putting part of his time deficit down to a higher mileage F1 power unit.

Charles Leclerc took seventh place for Ferrari ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, as Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) rounded out the top 10.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

When is the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Date: Sunday 12th December 2021
Start time: 1:00pm GMT, 5:00pm local time

How can I watch Formula 1?

Formula 1 is usually only shown live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, however Sky Sports and broadcaster Channel 4 have reached an agreement that means Channel 4 will also broadcast the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP for free.

Channel 4 will use the Sky commentary and analysis team, but the deal means that fans without access to Sky Sports will also be able to watch the historic race live.

How can I watch the Abu Dhabi GP?

In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports will be live broadcasting the Abu Dhabi GP, with the race shown live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event. Pre-race coverage will be starting on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event at 11:30am GMT, ahead of the race start at 1:00pm GMT.

• Channels: Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event
• Start time: 11:30am GMT, Sunday 5th December

Autosport will be running a live text coverage of the Abu Dhabi GP here.

The race is also being broadcast live on Channel 4, with its build-up broadcast starting at 12:00pm GMT before switching to Sky’s output of the race at 12:55pm GMT.

Channel: Channel 4
Start time: 12:00pm GMT, Sunday 12th December

When can I watch the Abu Dhabi GP highlights?

In the United Kingdom Channel 4 is also broadcasting highlights of the Abu Dhabi GP at 5:30pm GMT on Sunday. The full programme will run for one hour and 30 minutes, covering the pre-race, the race highlights and the initial post-race reaction to wrap up the major talking points of the race weekend.

For the entire 2021 F1 season, Channel 4 will broadcast highlights of every qualifying and race of each event. The highlights will also be available on Channel 4’s on demand catch up services.

· Channel: Channel 4
· Start time: 5:30pm GMT, Sunday 12th December

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Photo by: Alpine

Will the Abu Dhabi 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 and the via the BBC Sport website.

Live coverage of the Abu Dhabi GP will start at 1:00pm GMT on BBC Radio 5 Live and on the BBC Sounds app.

Weather forecast for the Abu Dhabi GP

Current weather forecasts predict hot and dry conditions at the Yas Marina Circuit, with a very low chance of rain during the race. The temperature is expected to be 25 degrees Celsius for the start of the race – three degrees colder than the Saudi Arabian GP last time out.

How many laps is the Abu Dhabi GP?

The race is scheduled to complete 58 laps of the Yas Marina Circuit, covering a total race distance of 306.183km.

F1 Abu Dhabi GP starting grid

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda 1'22.109  
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 1'22.480 0.371
3 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1'22.931 0.822
4 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Honda 1'22.947 0.838
5 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr Ferrari Ferrari 1'22.992 0.883
6 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 1'23.036 0.927
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 1'23.122 1.013
8 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda 1'23.220 1.111
9 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1'23.389 1.280
10 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1'23.409 1.300
11 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1'23.460 1.351
12 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1'24.043 1.934
13 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 1'24.066 1.957
14 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'24.251 2.142
15 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 1'24.305 2.196
16 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1'24.338 2.229
17 United Kingdom George Russell Williams Mercedes 1'24.423 2.314
18 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Ferrari 1'24.779 2.670
19 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1'24.906 2.797
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari 1'25.685 3.576

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