Lewis Hamilton has declared he is “feeling great” in his first public message since contracting COVID-19 – and confirmed he is aiming to race in Abu Dhabi.
The seven-time World Champion tested positive for the coronavirus two days after his fifth consecutive race victory, in the Bahrain Grand Prix, and has consequently been having to self-isolate.
That meant he missed the Sakhir Grand Prix, which also took place at the Bahrain International Circuit and resulted in his Mercedes team failing to win for only the third time in 16 races this year – essentially due to a double-stack pit-stop blunder that proved costly for Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton’s stand-in, George Russell.
While Hamilton’s self-isolation period is 10 days, there is a chance he could still arrive in Abu Dhabi for the final grand prix of the season – at the very least in time for qualifying – if he can return a negative COVID-19 test in the next few days.
The 35-year-old, whom Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirmed had experienced symptoms of the coronavirus, has been away from social media during his self-isolation but returned on Tuesday afternoon with a video message stating his intention to race in the season’s finale.
Love and appreciate you all🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/Y4qs5sYlYg
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) December 8, 2020
“Hi everyone. I hope you’re all well,” began Hamilton.
“I know I’ve not been in touch this past week, but it’s definitely been one of the hardest weeks I’ve had for some time and I’ve just been focused on recovering and trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race the final race in Abu Dhabi.
“I woke up today feeling great and got my first workout in, so I just want to send you guys a message of positivity to let you know I’m okay and thank every single one of you for sending me the amazing messages and videos. I really appreciate it.
“I hope wherever you are, you are staying positive and fighting through whatever it is you’re facing and I hope I can get back in the car soon. I’m sending you guys love.”
From the Mercedes perspective, with both World Championships well wrapped up, there need be no specific urgency for Hamilton to return, especially given Russell’s hugely impressive performance in the Sakhir Grand Prix.
There does, however, remain the issue of Hamilton’s future having yet to be publicly announced, with a new contract reported to be merely a formality between the two parties even though the Briton does not have a deal in place for next year.