Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for the coronavirus and will sit out this weekend's Sakhir GP in Bahrain, Mercedes F1 has announced.
Hamilton was tested three times in the run-up to last weekend’s Bahrain GP, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon before he went on to win the race. All three tests yielded negative results, but having woken up on Monday morning with mild symptoms he was informed that a contact prior to the weekend’s race had tested positive. Hamilton then took another test which this time came back positive.
Now isolating as per Bahrain’s COVID-19 guidelines Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir GP, held at the same Bahrain International Circuit as this past weekend’s Bahrain GP but on a different, outer loop circuit layout that has never been used before in Formula 1.
Mercedes says it will "announce its replacement driver plans for this weekend in due course”, the obvious options being reserve and development drivers Esteban Gutiérrez or Stoffel Vandoorne. Without recent F1 experience, however, there is a chance Mercedes could turn to Nico Hülkenberg, who has twice raced for the Mercedes-powered Racing Point team in 2020 when its drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll tested positive for COVID-19 and were forced to sit out.
It added: "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 programme.
"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."
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.
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