'Amazing' that Abu Dhabi GP will be shown live on Channel 4, says Hamilton


The F1 finale in Abu Dhabi will be shown on free-to-view TV in the UK this weekend after Channel 4 secured an agreement with Sky


The Hamilton vs Verstappen finale will be on Channel 4 live this weekend

Antonin Vincent / DPPI

News that this weekend’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be shown free-to-view on Channel 4 is “a great gift” for fans, Lewis Hamilton has said.

The free-to-view broadcaster reached an agreement with Sky to show the race live, as interest in F1 surges for the conclusion of one of the most exciting seasons in memory.

Max Verstappen and Hamilton head into the race level on points, and one of them will be crowned world champion on Sunday afternoon — watched by a terrestrial TV audience.

“I think that’s amazing,” said Hamilton, who recalled growing up and watching F1 on free-to-view TV. “Particularly in a time that we are living in right now where people have been affected so heavily by Covid: lost jobs, businesses. I think that’s great — great gift.”

Channel 4 race coverage will begin at 12pm on Sunday, with the usual cast of Steve Jones, David Coulthard, Lee McKenzie and Mark Webber before handing over to Sky’s coverage at 12.15pm for the rest of the build-up to lights out at 1pm.

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The broadcast will also use Sky’s live coverage of the race itself before switching back to Channel 4’s team after the podium ceremony for reaction. The usual Channel 4 highlights package will still run at 5.30pm as originally scheduled.

Channel 4’s Chief Executive Alex Mahon said: “We are delighted that the whole nation will be able to watch what is set to be one of the most thrilling finales to an F1 season in living memory as Lewis strives to become the most crowned World Champion of all time.

“After bringing Test cricket to free to air television for the first time in more than a decade, and enabling millions to share the joy of Emma Raducanu’s US Open triumph, we are so pleased to be partnering with Sky to enable the widest possible audience to share this historic sporting moment.”

Sky reported that the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last weekend brought in a record number of viewers for its F1 channel. A peak audience of 2.66m watched Hamilton battle Verstappen live as tensions almost boiled over in Jeddah.

Many more are expected to tune in on Sunday, and Verstappen fans will be able to do the same, as Ziggosport has also announced that the race will be shown on free TV in the Netherlands.

“It’s great for the people to be able to watch it,” said Verstappen. “For us it’s even more special because it’s the first time a Dutch driver has a chance of winning a championship. Hopefully, a lot of people will tune in.”

Formula 1 welcomed the extra eyeballs the deal will bring to this weekend’s live action. “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,” said F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“We are all looking forward to Sunday and hope all the fans will be glued to their screens.”