Qatar Grand Prix: Start time, Sprint schedule & How Max Verstappen can win the title

A dominant season may reach its inevitable glory this weekend as Max Verstappen stands on the cusp of the 2023 F1 World Driver’s Championship. So, here is the start time, plus other info, for the Qatar Grand Prix to make sure that you catch it.

Formula 1 returns to the Gulf nation for the first time since 2021. In that race, Lewis Hamilton took the victory to keep his championship hopes alive in pursuit of Verstappen. Contrastingly, in 2023, the Red Bull ace is almost untouchable.

Such is his advantage, Verstappen can actually clinch his third consecutive WDC before Sunday’s Grand Prix. This is because the Lusail International Circuit plays host to one of 2023’s six F1 Sprint weekends.

On the plus side – that means more racing for us fans. But what time does all the Qatar Grand Prix action start, I hear you ask?

Qatar Grand Prix: Start time in the UK

Like previous Sprint weekends in 2023, Friday in Lusail has both a Free Practice and Qualifying session. FP1 is at 2:30pm UK time on Friday 6 October, after which Qualifying is at 6pm.

Following this, we have our Sprint Saturday. This kicks off at 2pm on Saturday 7 October with the Sprint Shootout. The Sprint Race then provides some wheel-to-wheel chaos from 6:30pm.

Finally, the Qatar Grand Prix will start at 6pm UK time on Sunday 8 October.

How to watch the Qatar GP in the UK

Sky Sports is the broadcaster of Formula 1 racing in Great Britain. As a result, viewers require a Sky Sports subscription in order to watch the race live. Alternatively, NOW TV offer day passes or a monthly subscription, with which you can get the Sky Sports channels.

Sky’s coverage of FP1 is solely on their designated F1 channel, Sky Sports F1. However, Friday’s Qualifying is on both Sky Sports F1 and Main Event. Meanwhile, on Sprint Saturday, both the Shootout and the Race are only on the sport’s channel.

The entire Qatar GP will be on Sky Sports F1, although Main Event will show the race live from 7pm – so midway through.

Sunday’s Grand Prix is due to proceed as normal – but F1 may already have its 2023 champion by then.

How Max Verstappen can clinch the 2023 F1 Driver’s title in Qatar

The Dutchman is currently 177 points ahead of nearest challenger, and Red Bull teammate, Sergio Perez. Therefore, he has the opportunity to secure WDC No.3 with a result in Saturday’s Sprint Race.

In fact, Verstappen will clinch the 2023 title if he finishes in sixth or higher on Saturday. This is regardless of Sergio Perez’s result in the Sprint.

Furthermore, if Checo fails to finish in the top three of Saturday’s short race, Verstappen is champion regardless. But what if the reigning champ fails to score on Saturday? Well, even if Max did this and his teammate won the Sprint, he would still only need to finish eighth or higher on Sunday to be champion.

Realistically, barring a catastrophic weekend unlike any he has had in years, Max Verstappen will likely become a triple World champion in Qatar.

So, to make sure you see this momentous time, make sure to tune in to all the Qatar Grand Prix action this weekend.

Featured image credit: Getty