Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus.
The Mercedes driver returned three negative tests last week but began displaying mild symptoms on Monday, and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to his arrival last week in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.
Hamilton returned a positive result in a further test, confirmed in a later retest. Mercedes say he is showing mild symptoms but is “otherwise fit and well” and is now self-isolating in line with guidelines.
Now in a period of 10 days isolation, Hamilton posted a message on Twitter saying he was “devastated” to miss the first race of his F1 career. He said he was following protocols and urged others to stay safe.
Mercedes say they will announce Hamilton’s temporary replacement “in due course”. Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez are the team’s reserve drivers, but it is not certain that F1’s world champions will turn to either.
Hamilton’s period of isolation ends next Thursday. It remains to be confirmed whether he will return for next week’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
This weekend will be the first time Hamilton has been absent from a Grand Prix since his F1 career began in 2007, ending a record run of 265 consecutive starts.