Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19 the day after winning in Bahrain and will miss this coming weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
The 2020 world champion returned negative tests throughout his time in Bahrain as per Formula 1 protocols, but started suffering mild symptoms on Monday morning. Following information he had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to arriving in Bahrain, Hamilton was tested again on Monday and returned a positive result, ruling him out of the next race.
“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,” a Mercedes statement read.
“Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing program.
“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 retest.
“Lewis is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain. Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery.
“We will announce our replacement driver plans for this weekend in due course.”
Stoffel Vandoorne is the Mercedes reserve driver and is currently in Spain testing for the Formula E team, but was always due to arrive in Bahrain on Wednesday. George Russell is another driver who is managed by Mercedes, but as he is under contract to Williams an agreement would need to be reached to release him.
At this stage Hamilton hasn’t been ruled out of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that follows after Sakhir, but Bahrain protocols state he must self-isolate for 10 days, which would take him up to Thursday before the final race. He would likely need to return negative results earlier than that in order to be allowed entry into Abu Dhabi.