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Sky Sports is under major pressure to make Sir Lewis Hamilton’s bid to secure a record-breaking eighth Formula 1 world title free-to-air ahead of Sunday’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.
MPs and peers on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Motorsport led calls on Monday for this weekend’s race to be made available to the nation in the same way as the 2019 Cricket World Cup final – won by England – and this year’s US Open women’s singles final – which witnessed a fairy-tale triumph for Emma Raducanu.
The calls began less than 24 hours after Hamilton beat Max Verstappen in the Saudi Arabian GP to draw level on points with his championship rival in one of the most dramatic races the sport has seen.
That set-up a winner-takes-all shootout in which Hamilton will aim to complete a stunning comeback in the title race and move clear of Michael Schumacher as the most decorated driver in F1 history.
Lord Hain, the co-chair of the APPG and former Labour cabinet minister who campaigned successfully for Hamilton to be awarded a knighthood, told Telegraph Sport: “I hope Sky will agree with a free-to-air TV channel to make this historic event available to all the many millions who would want to watch and cheer on Lewis, who is Britain’s biggest ever global sports star on the threshold of Formula 1 immortality.”
When is it?
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend runs from Friday December 10 until Sunday December 12.
What time does it start?
First practice on Friday December 10 starts at 9.30am with second practice at 1pm. Final practice is at 10am on Saturday December 11 with qualifying at 1pm.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix itself starts at 1pm on Sunday December 12.
What are the championship standings after 21 rounds?
Drivers' top 10:
What TV channel is it on?
Sky Sports F1 have near-exclusive live coverage rights in the UK this year and indeed for the next few with their usual excellent team. Plans to make the season finale free-to-air are yet to be confirmed.
Their qualifying coverage starts at 12pm GMT on Saturday and their race coverage starts at 11.30am on Sunday.
Channel 4's qualifying coverage schedule has yet to be confirmed.
You can also keep up to date throughout qualifying and the race right here at Telegraph Sport.
What do we know about the Yas Marina circuit?
Circuit length: 5.281km
First grand prix: 2009
Race distance: 306.18km
Lap record: N/A
Number of corners: 17 (Seventeen)
There have been some alterations to the circuit for the 2021 race. Turns 11 to 14 have been replaced by one curve which will feature shallow banking. Turns 17, 18, 19 and 20 are also eased, to create a smoother flow over the end of the lap.
What are the latest odds?
Lewis Hamilton 1/2
Max Verstappen 2/1
Valtteri Bottas 16/1
Sergio Perez 25/1
Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc 70/1
Carlos Sainz 125/1