Dubai: Seven-time world F1 champion Lewis Hamilton looks set to miss out on the season finale in Abu Dhabi after testing positive for COVID-19.
A statement from his Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team confirmed the positive test returned by the new world champion, who won the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend.
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team regrets to announce that Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unable to take part in this weekend’s Sakhir GP,” the team statement read.
“Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon [November 27] at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing programme. However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive. Lewis, therefore, took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a re-test,” the team statement added.
As per the Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) in place, Hamilton will be required to isolate himself for at least two weeks in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain, thereby ensuring he misses out on the remainder of the season.
“Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery,” the team statement read.
The team further said that a replacement driver for Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix will be announced later during the week.
The seven-time Formula One world champion has already secured this year’s title, meaning his absence will have little effect on the remainder of the championship that includes the traditional finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on December 13.
Hamilton became the third driver so far to test positive for coronavirus this season following the Racing Point duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll earlier this year.
A statement from the FIA also confirmed Hamilton’s positive test. “The FIA, Formula 1 and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team can today confirm that during mandatory pre-race PCR testing for the Sakhir Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for Covid-19. In accordance with Covid-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain, he is now isolating and all contacts have been declared,” the FIA statement said.
“The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula 1 will ensure no wider impact on this weekend’s event,” the statement added.
Hamilton has so far recorded 11 first places and 13 podium finishes to gather 332 points while wresting his seventh world crown earlier this season. His teammate Valtteri Bottas (201) and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (189) are vyring for the second place with two races still to go.
Mercedes has already claimed the Constructors’ title and currently have 533 points, while Red Bull will take second spot with 274 points. The hunt will be on for the third spot with McLaren (171), Racing Point (154) and Renault (144) all in the fray.