3.9m watch inaugural Russian Grand Prix

The Russian Grand Prix performed solidly in the UK viewing figures yesterday, unofficial overnight figures show.

Race
BBC One’s coverage of the race from 11:00 to 14:15 averaged 3.22m (31.3%), peaking with 4.56m (38.1%) at 13:30. Sky Sports F1 added an average of 665k (6.5%) from 11:00 to 14:30, peaking with 985k (8.2%). Obviously there are no historical comparisons, however the combined average of 3.89m is directly in-line with the season average so far, so its not a great rating, but it is not a poor rating either.

The combined peak figure of 5.55m (46.3%) at 13:30 is split 82% vs 18% in BBC’s favour, which is similar to the peak splits in the past, suggesting that there has been no real movement between the two channels in the past two years. As an aside, that peak figure is pretty impressive, which might indicate that some of the more casual audience was caught out by the earlier start time. Considering the race quality was pretty bad, it did well to hold a stable audience throughout, I suspect Lewis Hamilton leading had a lot to play in that. As there was a lot of motor sport yesterday, there will be another post soon summarising the remaining motor sport numbers from BTCC to MotoGP.

Qualifying
Live coverage of qualifying on BBC One averaged 2.10m (25.5%) from 11:15 to 13:30, whilst Sky Sports F1’s coverage from 11:20 to 13:35 averaged 442k (5.3%). The combined average of 2.54m is just above average, so a solid rating there. The most interesting story from Saturday though was not the qualifying rating itself, but rather how well the GP3 Series did sandwiched between practice and qualifying.

On Saturday, Sky Sports F1 stayed above 100k from 08:45 to 13:35, this including F1’s practice three and qualifying. I thought Sky did a clever move here, wrapping the qualifying build-up around GP3. The GP3 race from 10:35 to 11:20 averaged 161k (2.4%), which is an excellent number and Sky’s highest ever for a GP2 or GP3 race. GP2 after qualifying averaged 53k (0.6%), showing how much either GP2 or GP3 would benefit from a permanent slot in between F1 practice and qualifying on Saturday’s. Yes, Sky may ‘lose’ twenty minutes of F1 build-up, but how else are the likes of Jolyon Palmer going to introduce themselves to an F1 audience? If ‘the powers that be’ are reading, maybe Russia’s Saturday scheduling could become permanent for 2015…

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