Lewis Hamilton says he is “devastated” to miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19 just 24 hours after winning the first race in Bahrain.
Despite three negative tests since arriving in Bahrain – the last of which came on Sunday – Hamilton woke up on Monday morning suffering from mild COVID-19 symptoms and was then informed someone he had been in contact with before arriving in Bahrain had tested positive. Two further tests confirmed Hamilton was also positive, meaning he must self-isolate for 10 days and miss the next race at least.
“I’m devastated that I won’t be racing this weekend,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram. “Since we started the season in June, my team and I have been taking all the precautions we possibly can and following the regulations everywhere we’ve been in order to stay safe. Unfortunately even though I returned three negative results this past week, I woke up yesterday morning with mild symptoms and requested another test which came back positive. I’ve immediately gone into self-isolation for 10 days.
“I’m gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others. I’m really lucky that I feel OK with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy. Please look after yourselves out there, you can never be too careful. These are worrying times for everyone and we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and each other. Stay positive.”
Hamilton’s isolation period takes him up to the Thursday of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. If he tests negative and is cleared to travel, then he will need to provide another negative test on arrival that should return a result early on Friday morning, showing how tight the timing is for him to take part in the final race weekend, too.