Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is the latest sports star to test positive for coronavirus and is currently self-isolating after experiencing mild symptoms, his Mercedes team announced on Tuesday, meaning he will sit out this Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain—the first absence of his F1 career.
Hamilton’s diagnosis comes days after he won the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
His Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team said in a statement that the sports star was tested three times last week, each time testing negative, including on Sunday.
“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 tested positive,” the statement read.
A test and subsequent retest revealed the positive result, with Hamilton, 35, self-isolating with mild symptoms and being “otherwise fit and well.”
Hamilton’s illness comes after the driver self-isolated in March, although experienced no symptoms, following an event he attended after which two people tested positive.
What To Watch For
Mercedes is set to announce a replacement driver for Sunday’s race in due course. With the season’s final race in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 13, it remains to be seen whether Hamilton will test negative in time to take part.
87,000. That’s how many coronavirus cases have been recorded in Bahrain, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Hamilton’s illness comes amid a triumphant world championship season that has seen him claim his seventh world title in Turkey on Nov. 15. That puts the world’s best ever racing driver alongside Michael Schumacher in terms of world title wins. But the star alluded to some challenges during Sunday’s race, particularly the physical element of the track: “I was sliding around a lot out there and I wasn’t really quite sure how it would play out at the end,” he said. Hamilton now makes three F1 drivers to have tested positive during the 2020 season along with a number of F1 staff, while at least 10 Grand Prix races have been cancelled or postponed as a result of pandemic lockdowns.
Sunday’s race also saw Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean escape a life-threatening crash with minor burns, after his car crashed at high speed into the track’s barriers, split in half and burst into flames. He is set to be discharged from hospital on Tuesday.
Hamilton tests positive for COVID-19, will miss Sakhir F1 GP (Associated Press)
Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus