F1 Bahrain 2021: practice, qualifying, schedule, UK start time - and how to watch first GP of Formula 1 season

Lewis Hamilton will begin his defence of the Formula One drivers’ championship at the Bahrain Grand Prix

The 2021 F1 season gets underway this weekend with Bahrain hosting the first Grand Prix of a planned record 23-race campaign.

Formula One’s return was slightly delayed after the Australian GP was moved from the front to later in the race schedule due to the Covid pandemic.

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It means Bahrain, which hosted two races in the interrupted 2020 season, will give drivers the green light to start their engines for this year’s racing.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag in Bahrain in 2020 and is second favourite with the online bookies to win there again in the 2021 season opener. (Pic: Getty Images)

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Here’s all you need to know ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

When is the Bahrain GP?

In 2021, the racing schedule in Bahrain is split up over three days starting from Friday 26 March to Sunday 28 March.

The first two Formula 1 practice sessions of the 2021 season will take place on 26 March at 11.30am and 3pm UK time.

The final practice session will take place on 27 March at 12pm (noon) before qualifying begins at 3pm later that same day.

The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on 28 March.

What time does the Bahrain GP start?

The Bahrain Grand Prix will start at 4pm on 28 March.

The day signals the start of British Summer Time, which means the clocks go forward one hour in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Where is the Bahrain GP circuit?

The Bahrain GP takes place over 57 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

The 5.412km track was developed in 2002 and held its first Grand Prix in 2004 under unusual cloudy skies, won by the now retired Michael Schumacher.

What TV channel is the Bahrain GP on?

All practice and qualifying sessions - and the Bahrain GP - will be aired live on Sky Sports’s dedicated Formula One channel Sky Sports F1.

Sky customers who subscribe to the channel will get unprecedented coverage of the entire 2021 season and all the twists and turns that go with it.

Sky Sports F1 costs £18 per month to add as an individual channel for customers, while the complete sports package costs £25 per month.

What time does TV coverage of the Bahrain GP start?

Qualifying coverage starts at 2pm on 27 March and race coverage begins at 2.30pm on 28 March.

How can I live stream the Bahrain GP?

Existing Sky Sports customers can stream the Bahrain GP through the Sky Go app on various digital devices, including phones and tablets.

Non-Sky customers can opt for a day or month pass of Sky Sports channels through NOW TV without committing to a contract.

The cost of NOW TV passes vary from £9.99 for a day pass to £33.99 for a month pass and can be streamed through the NOW TV app.

The NOW TV app can be found on most smart TVs, as well as phones, tablets and computers - depending on your viewing preference.

What are the latest odds on Bahrain GP winner?

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag in Bahrain in 2020 and is second favourite with the online bookies to win there again in the 2021 season opener.

Hamilton is at 13/8 with SkyBet, BetFred and WilliamHill.

Max Verstappen is 11/8 to win in Bahrain with PaddyPower, Bet365 and BetFair followed by Sergio Perez (13/2), Valtteri Bottas (15/2), and Daniel Ricciardo (33/1).