The 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix drew more over 1 million US viewers for the season start on Sunday, making it the most-watched F1 event on ESPN since 1995.
According to ESPN, the Bahrain Grand Prix drew an average of 1.3 million views in the United States and peaked at 1.5 million viewers between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m. ET, as the race approached its final and most dramatic laps.
According to ESPN, viewership for the event is higher compared to the same race on the 2021 schedule, which had an average of 927,000 viewers.
F1 viewership in the United States was reported by the network using Nielsen numbers from the measuring and analytics company.
Sky Sports owns the rights to broadcast Formula One events in the United Kingdom.
The Grand Prix was won by Scuderia Ferrari and Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc, earning Leclerc 26 points to open the season. In the first weekend, Leclerc defeated Spanish colleague Carlos Sainz, who finished second and scored 18 points for a team total of 44 points.
Lewis Hamilton, a Mercedes driver from the United Kingdom, finished third and earned 15 points.
Hamilton is aiming for a record eighth F1 World Championship this season after losing the final race of the 2021 season to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands.
According to ESPN, the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix received the most cable viewers since the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix, which averaged 1.74 million people.
Since the release of the behind-the-scenes Netflix series “Drive to Survive” in March 2019, F1 interest and viewership have skyrocketed in the United States.
The fourth season of the series, which covers the year 2021, became available to stream on Netflix on March 11.
Last season, the racing firm set a new audience record, averaging 934,000 viewers per event on ESPN networks and the ABC network – a 54 percent increase over F1′s 2020 races.
The U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, which aired on both ESPN and ABC, drew an average of 1.2 million viewers in 2021.
What unfolded in the race was, Verstappen trailed Leclerc for the majority of Sunday’s race in the desert, except for six corners where he moved ahead.
However, the Dutchman eventually lost not only P2, but all of the points on offer. He was pulled into the pit with three circuits remaining after complaining of tyre degradation early on, steering troubles, and a battery problem.