Where to Watch F1 and Bathurst This Weekend (December 5th, 2021)

·3 min read
Photo credit: Lars Baron - Getty Images
Photo credit: Lars Baron - Getty Images

Formula 1 - Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Sunday, December 5th - 12:30 p.m. EDT - ESPN2

For now, the championship still seems destined to come down to a virtually-tied finale at Yas Marina next weekend. Lewis Hamilton trails Max Verstappen by eight points, equivalent to the points a driver gets for winning a race and taking the fastest lap. He also starts on pole again tomorrow at what seems to be a "Mercedes track," one favoring their car's lower rake profile and higher top speed. A win sets up a finale where whomever finishes ahead of the other in the points wins.

But this is a new race at a new track, one where Verstappen knows that he has the opportunity to take control. A win for Verstappen over a second-placed Hamilton puts him between 14 and 16 points ahead before the season's final race. That would be something like a commanding lead, one that would mean Hamilton needs more than what his team can control. A win and a second from Bottas would not be enough to guarantee a win at Yas Marina. If Verstappen wins and Hamilton finishes sixth or worse without Hamilton taking the fastest lap of the race, Verstappen clinches the championship tomorrow.

The new track at Jeddah is fast and unforgiving, something Charles Leclerc found out the hard way during practice yesterday. Every possible hit here is a bad one, particularly with some hard walls jutting out at unfortunate places in some of the track's faster corners. It is also far more on-throttle than most tracks, all while being as narrow as a street circuit. If the field can make their way through turn 1 without a problem, drivers may actually stretch out fairly quickly with far fewer passing opportunities than the average F1 track. Hamilton shares the front row with teammate Valtteri Bottas, where he will hope that both he and his teammate can get away early and not have to worry about an on-track clash with Verstappen again until next weekend. Verstappen will hope he can get past Bottas early and put pressure on Hamilton on lap 1.

Australian Supercars - Bathurst 1000
Saturday, December 4th - 8:15 p.m. EDT - YouTube (premium subscription)

Australia's greatest motor race is here, even if it happens to be a few months late. If you've seen a Bathurst 1000 before, you know what you're in for: Drivers, two per car, race in V-8-powered super touring cars for more than 600 miles at one of the world's most difficult racing tracks. Close, fast, high-contact racing are the expectation, the sort of competition that comes in a battle for the biggest prize in an entire continent's racing.

Walkinshaw Andretti United's Chaz Mostert won yesterday's Top Ten Shootout, a singe-lap second round of qualifying, with a new track record. He and Lee Holdsworth will start on pole in their Holden, where they will share a front row with Antoine De Pasquale and Tony D'Alberto's Dick Johnson Racing Ford. Crowned 2021 champion Shane van Gisbergen starts fifth with teammate Garth Tander, while seven-time champion Jamie Whincup and his legendary teammate Craig Lowndes will start Whincup's final Bathurst as a full-time driver from 11th.

Even with the schedule change, three-time consecutive series champion and current IndyCar driver Scott McLaughlin was not able to come down to Australia for this year's race. It makes Mostert and van Gisbergen, both former winners of the race, prohibitive favorites at Mount Panorama.

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