Formula 1 visits Saudi Arabia for the first time in what will be the fastest-ever street race, as the championship cranks up another notch in intensity.
After Lewis Hamilton’s back to back wins in Brazil and Qatar, his championship gap to Max Verstappen now stands at just eight points – if the title contenders finish in Jeddah 1-2 respectively, with Hamilton gaining the fastest lap, then they’ll be equal on points heading into the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton ultimately needs to win to keep himself firmly in the hunt –if Verstappen emerges victorious and takes the point for fastest lap, with his rival sixth or lower, then the Dutchman will be crowned in Jeddah. If Hamilton retires in Saudi Arabia, the Red Bull driver only needs second to clinch the title.
In the race for the constructors’ crown the margin is even tighter, with five points separating leaders Mercedes from Red Bull.
The Silver Arrows’ alleged flexi-rear wing has caused much consternation in the Milton Keynes camp in relation to the former’s straight-line speed. Although Christian Horner said he believed the Merc pace had reduced back to normal in Qatar, a Saudi coastal circuit which demands full throttle for 79% of the lap will bring strong scrutiny back to this technical area.
Below are all the TV timings you need for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to make sure you catch every moment.
If you want to see all the action live as it happens, here are the times you need to tune into your TV or have your device ready. All times are GMT.
Live: Saturday, 4.55pm via Sky Sports F1/NowTV
Highlights: Saturday, 8.40pm via Channel 4
Live: Sunday, 5.25pm via Sky Sports F1/NowTV
Highlights: Sunday, 10pm via Channel 4
How many laps is the Saudi Arabian GP?
The Saudi Arabian GP consists of 50 laps of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, on Sunday December 5. The weather forecast predicts 31c with clear skies on race day, though it is a night race.
Where to watch
All sessions are live on Sky Sports F1 with both pre and post-session coverage through the duration of the race weekend. Coverage on race day will last until 9:15pm.
The Channel 4 highlights will be later than usual due to the late afternoon session times on Saturday and Sunday.
Sky Sports F1 – Live
Friday: FP1 – 1pm | FP2 – 4.45pm
Saturday: FP3 – 1.45pm | Qualifying – 4pm
Sunday: Race – 4pm
Channel 4 – Highlights
Saturday: Qualifying – 8.40pm
Sunday: Race – 10pm
How to stream
NowTV will cover every session throughout the weekend, meaning you can keep up with the action whatever your location. The app is available to download on mobile and tablet devices – weekend passes are available which provide all the live session in addition to the pre and post-race coverage.
Who will win?
Whilst early predictions are that the high-speed nature of the Jeddah circuit will favour Mercedes, the balance of power with Red Bull in terms of pace is still balanced on a knife-edge, meaning anything could happen under the floodlights.
Two back-to-back wins, coupled with the fact that Mercedes has bullishly announced Hamilton will be using the engine which powered him to that incredible Brazil win, adds further weight to the thought this could once again be a weekend which belongs to Brackley. Toto Wolff appears confident, stating that Mercedes will be bringing some “spicy equipment” to Saudi Arabia in its quest for victory, with his engineering director Andrew Shovlin confirming that the Jeddah track should suit the Mercs.