Lewis Hamilton believes the effects of COVID-19 are lingering after he needed medical attention following a dizzy spell on the podium of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The defending champion – who missed a race with COVD at the end of last season – appeared weak and wary of his surroundings on the podium, having finished third in a thrilling race that saw him start from pole position but drop to the back of the field due to a strategic error. Hamilton was then late to the post-race press conference after Mercedes confirmed he was with the team doctor after suffering from fatigue and mild dizziness.
“I had real dizziness and everything got a bit blurry on the podium,” Hamilton said having recovered. “I’ve been fighting all year, really, with the health, you know staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year and it’s still… it’s a battle.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone particularly about it, but I think it is lingering. I remember the effects of when I had it and training’s been different since then and the levels of fatigue that you get is different and it’s a real challenge, as I said. Just continue to try and train and prepare the best way I can.
“Today, I think, as well as yesterday, maybe it’s hydration. I don’t know, but I’ve definitely not had that experience. I had something similar in Silverstone, but this is way worse.”
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Hamilton finished third and was later promoted to second after Sebastian Vettel was disqualified, but that only came after a fightback through the field after being the only driver re-starting the race on the grid after a red flag, as the whole field opted to pit for slick tires.
“Today was definitely tough and we always make it difficult for ourselves. Crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start but these things happen and we learn from them. I gave it everything and I had nothing left at the end.
“I was telling the team how the track was through the lap but they said the rain was coming when we got in the car and I thought they had other information. I saw everyone diving in, but anyways…
“I know that we can pit. Obviously, we all started on the inters and I tried, just through the formation lap, giving the team information. It was dry in all the corners and so I kept telling them: dry, dry, dry and they said to stay out. I don’t really understand but I’m sure it is top off… definitely a mistake from us all, but we win and lose as a team and we bear the burden of the mistakes together and we just keep fighting.
“The team did an amazing job with the strategy, with the pit stops and I just had to make it work out there, so it was flat chat for the entire race and very, very hard with tire temperatures and that but nonetheless I enjoyed it.”