Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus.

Recently-crowned seven-time world champion Hamilton returned a positive test during mandatory testing ahead of this weekend’s race in Bahrain and is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health guidelines.

Mercedes says it will announce his replacement in due course.

“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,” read an FIA statement.

“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.”

Hamilton is the third F1 driver to have contracted coronavirus this season, after Racing Point duo Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll both missed races after returning positive tests.

It will be the first time in his F1 career that Hamilton has missed a grand prix event since making his debut in 2007, bringing to an end a record run of 265 consecutive starts. 

Hamilton would need to produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to the F1 paddock. It is unclear yet whether he will also be forced to miss the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 13 December. 

The 35-year-old Briton has dominated the 2020 season so far, winning 11 of the 15 races to have taken place. Hamilton's absence from this weekend's race means he can no longer match the record for most wins in a single season (13) which is currently shared by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes has a number of options to stand-in as a replacement for Hamilton, including Stoffel Vandoorne, Esteban Gutierrez and current Williams driver George Russell

Vandoorne is due to travel to Bahrain after he has completed Formula E testing duties for Mercedes in Valencia today.

Should Mercedes opt to choose Russell, Williams has Formula 2 racer Jack Aitken on stanby as its official reserve driver. 

 

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