Thursday, December 3, 2020

Positive COVID-19 Test Parks Lewis Hamilton Ahead of Sakhir Grand Prix

Phoro Credit: Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

For much of the 2020 Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton has gone largely unchallenged during many grand prix races. The three-wheeled finish at the British Grand Prix, the valiant and victorious charge from sixth to first in the Turkish Grand Prix and the most recent triumph in last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix are one of several occasions where the recently-declared seven-time Formula 1 World Drivers’ Champion, with the backing of his high-tier Mercedes-AMG team, demonstrated the ability to meet challenges and prevail. In a year where the entire world recognizes the battle against COVID-19 as a core challenge, Hamilton was among one out of billions in the fight. As the season reaches its penultimate round, the foe known as COVID-19 would be the only adversary keeping the all-time winningest Formula 1 driver from the possibilities of on-track success. 

On Tuesday, it was announced that Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19 and would be unable to race in the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix. Hamilton woke up to mild symptoms on Monday and would later receive confirmation of contracting the virus with two positive tests. In a team statement made by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, it was reported that the driver was tested on the Sunday afternoon of the Bahrain Grand Prix that returned negative. 

Currently in isolation for 10 days, Lewis Hamilton issued a statement on his Twitter account expressing his situation and shared his disappointment for not being able to compete in the upcoming Formula 1 race. Part of the message states, “I’m gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others.” 

Having started in 265 grand prix events, the 95-time race winner’s absence at Formula 1's Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain will miss his first race since his debut in the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. On Wednesday, his Mercedes-AMG team announced that Williams Racing driver George Russell will run their race entry in substitution for Lewis Hamilton for the second event being held on the Bahrain International Circuit for the 2020 season. 

Lewis Hamilton is the third Formula 1 driver to miss a race due to COVID-19. Racing Point driver Sergio Perez missed both Silverstone events after infection in August while Lance Stroll (also with Racing Point) withdrew from October’s Eifel Grand Prix weekend due to feeling unhurt and later received a positive test.

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