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2021 F1 Spanish GP session timings and how to watch

With Lewis Hamilton extending his championship lead to eight points over Max Verstappen thanks to victory at the Portuguese GP last weekend, the Dutch driver will look to strike back immediately at the venue which has previously been the traditional home of F1 pre-season testing and is the current venue for the Spanish GP. 

The battle between Mercedes and Red Bull is set to remain as the central focus in Spain as the F1 world championship fight intensifies, with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya set to act as a useful reference for all F1 teams given its familiarity having acted as the pre-season test venue in recent years.

McLaren remains at the head of the midfield fight behind Mercedes and Red Bull, having opened up a small gap to Ferrari in fourth in the F1 world constructors’ championship.

The Spanish GP also marks the first time since the Bahrain round that the 2021 F1 calendar has reverted to its traditional schedule, following the COVID-19-enforced changes with races at Imola and Portimao to fill in for the postponed Australian GP and cancelled Chinese GP.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Performance, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11 EQ Performance, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16, Lance Stroll, Racing Point RP20, Sergio Perez, Racing Point RP20, the rest of the field at the start

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

2021 Formula 1 Spanish GP session timings

F1 will continue to run its revised weekend schedule for 2021, with shorter practice sessions on Friday. Two free practice sessions lasting 60 minutes each on Friday (rather than the previous 90-minute sessions) are followed by an additional practice session also running for one hour on Saturday morning.

The Q1, Q2 and Q3 knockout-style qualifying format is also being retained on Saturday afternoon to decide the grid for the Spanish GP on Sunday.

F1 has also ditched starting races at 10 minutes past the hour mark for the 2021 season, with all races starting at the top of the hour.

Friday 7th May 2021
Free Practice 1: 10:30am-11:30am BST (11:30am-12:30pm local)
Free Practice 2: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST (3:00pm-4:00pm local)

Saturday 8th May 2021
Free Practice 3: 11:00am-12:00pm BST (12:00pm-1:00pm local)
Qualifying: 2:00pm-3:00pm BST (3:00pm-4:00pm local)

Sunday 9th May 2021
Race: 2:00pm BST (3:00pm local)

How can I watch the Spanish 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 12:30pm ahead of lights out at 2:00pm.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF1000

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

When can I watch the highlights?

Channel: Channel 4
Start time: Saturday qualifying 6:30pm, Sunday race 6:30pm

Channel 4 has the rights to show Spanish GP highlights of qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

Will it 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.

Coverage of the Spanish GP will start at 1:50pm BST on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, available on both DAB radio and the BBC Sounds app.

Will there be fans at the Spanish GP?

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, only 1,000 fans will be allowed at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and only on Sunday 9th May to coincide with the easing of restrictions in the region. The fans allowed to attend will be selected at random from the circuit’s membership group. No fans will be allowed at the circuit on any other day during the Spanish GP.

Weather forecast for the Spanish GP?

Montmelo is set for largely sunny conditions with some cloud on Friday, but dry and sunny conditions are forecast for the weekend, with a minimal chance of rain. Across the weekend highs of 23 degrees Celsius are predicted – around four degrees warmer than the hottest conditions at the Portuguese GP.

Most F1 Spanish GP wins

Michael Schumacher: 6 wins (1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
Lewis Hamilton: 5 wins (2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Mika Hakkinen: 3 wins (1998, 1999, 2000)
Alain Prost: 3 wins (1988, 1990, 1993)
Nigel Mansell: 3 wins (1987, 1991, 1992)
Jackie Stewart: 3 wins (1969, 1970, 1971)

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