Lewis Hamilton admits he is still struggling physically with the effects of COVID-19 after missing last weekend’s race and qualifying third at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
A positive test the day after winning in Bahrain meant Hamilton had to isolate for 10 days and he suffered from mild symptoms during that period, but has since passed all protocols to return for the final race. After a solid Friday he was right in the fight for pole position on Saturday and only missed out to Max Verstappen by 0.086s but admits he still doesn’t feel at his best as a result of the virus.
“I don’t want to necessarily want to go into too much detail of it all but like I said already back in Australia, just how serious the virus is, and I can really feel for those who have suffered from it and those who have lost ones from it, I can understand how because it’s a nasty virus,” Hamilton said.
“I’m not 100 percent. I still have some feeling within my lungs but nonetheless, normally I would drive if one of my arms was hanging off. That’s what we do as racing drivers and luckily that’s not the case. It definitely won’t be the easiest of races physically but I will manage and give it absolutely everything I have.”
Hamilton admits it’s not just a case of feeling the respiratory effects but also not being able to recover and recharge quickly between sessions, and says he has lost significant weight since he won the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“I think it’s overall energy. One of the symptoms is that it really drains you. So I’ve been trying to sleep as much as I can but recharging is not as easy as it has been in the past.
“I lost a good amount of weight just in that week so I’m not 100 percent the same as I was the last time I raced, but it’s by no means going to get in the way of me coming out and giving it my all tomorrow.”