Sebastian Vettel surprised fans a couple of weeks ago by winning the opening race of the 2018 F1 season. Lewis Hamilton, though, is be looking to defend his world champion title and will surely put in another stunning qualifying lap in Bahrain this weekend.

The bad news for fans is that fewer races are being shown live on free-to-air TV these days. In the UK only 10 races will be shown live on Channel 4. Fortunately Bahrain is one of them.

Sky will show the other 11 races live during the 2018 season, with Channel 4 offering highlights later on. That also means that those exclusive races will only be available online to Sky subscribers with the appropriate Sky Sports package, and access to a mobile device for the Sky Go app.

Sky will be broadcasting practice, qualifying and races in Ultra HD and also offering certain elements in VR via the Sky VR app. You can find out more on Sky’s website.

Note that from 2019, Sky will be showing all races exclusively. It's unclear whether UK fans will be able to subscribe to the forthcoming official F1 online portal because this may conflict with Sky's exclusive deal.

Which F1 races will be on Channel 4 in 2018?

Here's the schedule for UK TV, so you can see which ones you'll be able to watch on free-to-air TV and online.

Note that the French Grand Prix is being held at the Paul Ricard circuit in 2018 after an absence of around 30 years from the calendar.

When is the Bahrain Grand Prix on?

This weekend's race isn't exclusive to Sky so you'll be able to watch it live on Channel 4 at 4.10pm on Sunday 8 April.

And if you're unable to get to a TV or record it, the race will subsequently be available to watch via the All 4 app. The same is true of qualifying. 

For races exclusive to Sky, you will be able to watch delayed highlights on Channel 4.

Australian Grand Prix 23-25 March Sky
Bahrain Grand Prix 6-8 April Sky & Channel 4
Chinese Grand Prix 13-15 April Sky
Azerbaijan Grand Prix 27-29 April Sky & Channel 4
Spanish Grand Prix 11-13 May Sky
Monaco Grand Prix 25-27 May Sky & Channel 4
Canadian Grand Prix 8-10 June Sky
French Grand Prix 22-24 June Sky
Austrian Grand Prix 29 June - 1 July Sky & Channel 4
British Grand Prix 6-8 July Sky & Channel 4
German Grand Prix 20-22 July Sky
Hungarian Grand Prix 27-29 July Sky
Belgian Grand Prix 24-26 August Sky & Channel 4
Italian Grand Prix 31 August - 2 September Sky
Singapore Grand Prix 14-16 September Sky & Channel 4
Russian Grand Prix 28-30 September Sky
Japanese Grand Prix 5-7 October Sky & Channel 4
United States Grand Prix 19-21 October Sky & Channel 4
Mexican Grand Prix 26-28 October Sky
Brazilian Grand Prix 9-11 November Sky
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 23-25 November Sky & Channel 4

Also, if you're not in the UK when a particular race is shown, you can still watch it on the All 4 app if you use a VPN with a UK server, such as Hidden24. See also: Best VPN services.

Now TV

For those who want to watch the Sky coverage but don't want a satellite dish or those pricey subscriptions, the alternative is Now TV. This is also a Sky product, but it doesn't tie you in. You can pay daily, weekly or monthly, but unless you get a deal, the standard prices of £7.98, £12.98 and £33.98 are very expensive.

If you plan on watching every Formula 1 practice, qualifying and race, including those exclusive to Sky, you'll want to take advantage of Now TV's current deal that gets you nine months of Sky Sports Pass for £150 rather than the £305 it would cost if you purchased them separately. This deal ends on 25 March so hurry before it's gone! Get the deal here.

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TVCatchup

If you prefer not to use the All 4 app, you can try TVCatchup. This lets you watch live free-to-air UK television on your computer, phone, tablet or games console. Versions of the site optimised for iPad and iPhone are available at ipad.tvcatchup.com and iphone.tvcatchup.com, and there's also a TVCatchup app available in the Apple Appstore and Google Play Store.

Head to TVCatchup.com and go to the TV Guide. Choose the correct channel for the particular session (either quali or the race) you want to watch live online. You can also change the stream quality, which is useful if you don't have a particularly fast broadband connection.

You'll have to watch an advert to start with, but then it will stream the channel. If you're using a desktop browser you can use TVCatchup's new Desktop Player to watch and record live TV.