Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after testing positive for Covid-19.
His Mercedes team said that the seven-time Formula One world champion was self-isolating and had only mild symptoms.
“He is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery,” said Mercedes in a statement.
According to Mercedes, Hamilton was tested three times last week, including at the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, where he won the Bahrain Grand Prix. He returned a negative result each time.
The 35-year-old Briton woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed that a contact from before his arrival in Bahrain had tested positive. He took a further test and returned a positive result, which has been confirmed by a retest.
“I’m devastated that I won’t be racing this weekend,” Hamilton said in a post on social media.
“Since we started the season in June, my team and I have been taking all the precautions we possibly can and following the regulations everywhere we’ve been in order to stay safe.
“Unfortunately, even though I returned three negative results this past week, I woke up yesterday morning with mild symptoms and requested another test which came back positive. I’ve immediately gone into self-isolation for 10 days.”
Mercedes said a replacement driver for this weekend would be announced in due course. Over the last weekend in November and the first in December, Bahrain is hosting F1’s third double-header of the 2020 season.
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Hamilton’s victory on Sunday saw him claim a record-extending 95th win of his career.
Last month Hamilton’s victory at the Turkish Grand Prix saw F1’s most successful driver equal Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven world titles.
Hamilton has claimed 11 victories during 2020, which equals his personal race win record in a F1 season. Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel jointly hold the F1 record with 13 wins in a season and Hamilton’s withdrawal from the Sakhir GP means the Briton will not be able to reach that landmark as after Sunday there is only one more race – the Abu Dhabi GP.
Mexican driver Sergio Perez tested positive for coronavirus in July and Canadian Lance Stroll said he had tested positive last month.