Sky Sports and ESPN have communicated record viewing figures from last Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
The first round of the new campaign saw an enticing battle unfold between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with the former coming out on top.
Sky Sports, which broadcasts to the United Kingdom and Ireland, had an average viewership of 1.98 million during the race, with a peak of 2.23m.
It marks the highest viewed race on Sky Sports since the British broadcaster acquired rights to show F1 in 2012, and was the first to peak at over 2m viewers.
Compared to last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, which featured the fiery opening lap crash for former Haas driver Romain Grosjean, viewership was up 42 per cent.
Saturday’s qualifying session on Sky was also a new high for the company, with it being the first-ever qualifying session with an average audience of more than 1m, as well as seeing the highest ever average peak.
In the United States, ESPN recorded an average audience of 879,000 fans during the race on the ESPN2 channel – the highest viewed F1 event on record for the broadcaster, dating back to 1995.
Peak audience figures were recorded at over 1m, making it up 72 per cent in viewership over last year’s Bahrain race, which averaged 511,000 fans.