BERLIN — Germany’s top commercial web RTL celebrated the comeback of seven-time Formula 1 world motor-racing champion Michael Schumacher on Sunday, winning a thumping 49.2% market share for the season’s opening race in Bahrain.

An average of 10.51 million viewers and a peak of 11.54 million, with 51% in the 14-49 target group, watched Schumacher take a disappointing sixth place.

RTL, which pays a reported E75 million ($103 million) each year for the F1 rights in Germany, has been hyping Schumacher’s comeback for months and devoted most of the two-hour pre-race show to interviews and stories about his return.

The all-time record for an RTL F1 broadcast was 15.41 million for the season final in 1997.

Schumacher’s return is also a boost for feevee Sky Deutschland, which holds the paybox rights.