Lewis Hamilton is “not great” and still suffers from coronavirus symptoms after testing positive on Monday, his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.
Hamilton is currently recovering to bed while in self-isolation and was forced to miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix with Team Williams on loan George Russell replacing him.
Hamilton, who was recently crowned Formula 1 world champion for a record seventh time, is frustrated at having to miss the competition, Wolff admitted – but added that the health of the 35-year-old British driver was the main concern.
Lewis Hamilton is ‘not great’ and suffers from mild symptoms after testing positive for coronavirus on Monday
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the driver was recovering but was suffering from mild symptoms
“He’s not great,” Wolff said.
“Covid-19 is something you shouldn’t take lightly and it is in good hands. It is the most important. But it’s those early days that still aren’t so nice.
“Mild symptoms and then obviously, as you can imagine, a racing driver gets out of his car and combines it with Covid, he prefers to sit in there [the team garage]».
The seven-time world champion said he was “devastated” to miss Sunday’s Grand Prix and his participation in the season final in Abu Dhabi next weekend is also in doubt.
The 35-year-old tested positive on Monday, less than 24 hours after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix. He was informed that “a contact before his arrival” had also contracted Covid.
The seven-time world champion said he was devastated to miss Sunday’s Grand Prix
Hamilton, who spent time on vacation in Dubai with family and close friends before coming to Bahrain, said: “I am devastated that I am not running this weekend.
“Since we started the season in June, my team and I have taken every precaution possible and followed the rules to stay safe.
“Unfortunately, even though I returned three negative results last week, I woke up Monday morning with mild symptoms and ordered another test which came back positive. ”
It is not known when or how Hamilton caught the virus, although Mercedes has confirmed that a person he came into contact with before arriving in Bahrain has also tested positive.
Hamilton arrived in Bahrain on November 26 after spending two weeks at his home in Monaco celebrating his F1 world championship.
He secured the title after winning the Turkish Grand Prix on November 15 and returned home the same evening.
Hamilton won his seventh Formula 1 title on November 15 in Turkey before returning home to Monaco the same evening. The next day he filmed himself running along the beach and said he felt “blessed and grateful”
On November 22, Hamilton posted a video to Instagram of him playing tennis with his father and revealed how he both worked hard to improve in the sport.
In Monaco, he enjoyed a run on the beach and a game of tennis with his father Anthony in videos shared on social media, where he also spoke of celebrating his title win “with the family”. It is not known which other family members celebrated with him.
In another video, the Mercedes driver could be seen traveling in the same car alongside Anthony and his friend Daniel ‘Spinz’ Forrest.
While his father and Forrest wore masks, Hamilton did not have a face mask.
The date or location of the video is not known, although it appears to have been posted to social media on November 25, the day before Hamilton was seen on the Bahrain track. It has also not been revealed if Anthony or Forrest tested positive.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of the coronavirus to appear after coming in contact with someone with the disease, suggesting that Hamilton most likely contracted Covid in Monaco or very soon after arriving in Bahrain .
Meanwhile, Russell made a dream start to his Mercedes debut on Friday after being the fastest in the first practice session.
George Russell (above) replaces Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend
Initially, the Briton was a second behind the pace of his teammate Valtteri Bottas, but he quickly overtook him at the top before being beaten by Max Verstappen.
He finished fastest in the first practice session with a time of 54.546 on his Mercedes debut.
Russell returned to the lead with a time of 54.546 and he would no longer be eclipsed, finishing tenth ahead of Red Bull Verstappen and Dutch teammate Alex Albon.
Sakhir’s GP will see two debutants, Briton Jack Aitken replacing Russell at Williams and Pietro Fittipaldi at Haas, grandson of two-time world champion Emerson.
Led by Fittipaldi, the two drivers progressively progressed towards Friday’s race despite arriving at the bottom of the timesheets.
Fittipaldi replaces Romain Grosjean who is recovering from minor burns he suffered in last weekend’s horror crash that saw the Frenchman’s car crash before exploding into flames.
FIRST PRACTICE OF THE SAKHIR GP
1 Russell (Gbr) Mercedes 54,546 seconds
2 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 54.722
3 Albon (Tha) Red Bull 54.811
4 Bottas (End) Mercedes 54.868
5 Kvyat (Rus) AlphaTauri 55.011
6 Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri 55166
7 Ocon (Fra) Renault 55 273
8 Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 55.281
9 Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 55.379
10 Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 55.449
11 Balade (Can) Racing Point 55,558
12 Perez (Mex) Racing Point 55,716
13 Sainz (Spa) McLaren 55.757
14 Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo 55,783
15 Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo 55.858
16 Norris (Gbr) McLaren 56.078
17 Magnussen (Den) Haas 56130
18 Latifi (Can) Williams 56,764
19 Fittipaldi (bra) Haas F1 57077
20 Aitken (Gbr) Williams 57,187