F1 Saudi Arabia GP 2021: Grand prix start time, practice sessions, qualifying, schedule and how to watch on TV

Once more, the battle for the 2021 Championship is on with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton continuing to fight it out for that number one spot.

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix takes place and, like its other Middle-Eastern counterparts, will take place under floodlights.

At the moment, the Dutchman still holds the edge over the Briton as he sits on 351.5 points while Hamilton is just below on 343.5.

Just two races ago it seemed Verstappen had got into his groove and would likely go on to steal the show at the remaining races. However, Brazil and last week’s inaugural race at Qatar belonged to Hamilton and the 36 year old proved to everyone that he is far from done in the 2021 race.

At the Losail Circuit, fans also welcomed Alpine’s Fernando Alonso back to the podium for the first time since 2014.

Alonson, far right, stepped on the podium for the first time since 2014Alonson, far right, stepped on the podium for the first time since 2014
Alonson, far right, stepped on the podium for the first time since 2014

The Spaniard started the race in fifth position but fought throughout and survived multiple overtaking attempts from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez to take the 15 points.

Despite missing out on the final podium spot, Perez had an impressive race as he started in seventh and was able to find himself up the order finishing in fourth.

Alpine’s success continued as Esteban Ocon finished his race in fifth followed by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

The race for the third place in the constructor’s championship seems to be gradually slipping away from 2020 winners McLaren as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finished in seventh and eight place respectively with Lando Norris claiming two points in ninth place for the British-based team.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (JPIMedia)Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (JPIMedia)
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (JPIMedia)

With only two races left in the 2021 season, there is still much to play and fight for as the drivers head to their second of three Middle-Eastern races this weekend.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

When is the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?

The race weekend starts on Friday 3 December 2021 and ends on Sunday 5 December 2021.

What are the timings for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?

Friday 3 December:

  • Practice 1: 1.30-2.30pm GMT
  • Practice 2: 5 - 6pm GMT

Saturday 4 December:

  • Practice 3: 2 - 3pm GMT
  • Qualifying: 5 - 6pm GMT

Sunday 5 December:

  • 5.30 - 7.30pm GMT

How to watch the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?

Every session from the start of the first practice session to the end of the race will be available to watch on Sky Sports.

A live stream of their coverage can also be accessed via NowTV.

Where is the Saudi Arabian GP taking place?

The Grand Prix will take place at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit which is located on a 30km coastal resort area by the ancient city of Jeddah.

What is the track like?

The Saudi Arabian GP is exceptionally fast. Average speeds around the circuit are expected to be at around 252km/h (156mph).

It is the fastest street circuit ever seen in Formula 1 and the track will feature the most corners on the 2021 calendar. The 27 quick bends will send the drivers along the Jeddah waterfront.

Who will win the Saudi Arabian Grand prix?

If a race track is fast, Mercedes automatically have the edge over their counterparts. Lewis Hamilton has also been the fastest in qualifying for the previous two events and, to add insult to injury, the Briton beat Verstappen in Qatar with a lap that was over four-tenths quicker than Verstappen could manage.

Statistically Hamilton has the edge as he has won 12 times at circuits he’s never driven before while Verstappen has only one once at a new circuit.

However, it is only Verstappen that can be crowned as the Champion this weekend. It seems unlikely given the number of variables this would require but his hunger for that title will surely drive him even more resolutely and, as with almost every race this season, anything could happen.

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