Mercedes have confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will return to the team for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Briton was forced to miss the Sakhir Grand Prix after returning a positive COVID-19 test prior to the race weekend, and while his team were relatively confident that he would return for Abu Dhabi, the seven-time World Champion was yet to be cleared.
But that clearance has now arrived with Mercedes confirming that Hamilton will be back in the W11 for the full race weekend after he returned a negative test and followed all self-isolation protocols in Bahrain.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 10, 2020
“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team is pleased to confirm that Lewis Hamilton will drive for the team in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” said Mercedes in an official statement.
“Lewis tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday prior to completion of his self-isolation period in Bahrain. This enabled him to travel to Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon, and he tested negative on arrival.
“Lewis has therefore completed the protocols required by the FIA for his entry to the paddock tomorrow and will be able to take part in the race weekend.
“George Russell will return to Williams Racing for the final event of the 2020 season.”
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP, Russell clarified the comments he had made after Sakhir where he said he hoped that his impressive performance would give Mercedes boss Toto Wolff a “headache” over any future line-up.
He said they were simply a “throwaway remark in the heat of the moment…obviously emotions were high”.
“Ultimately I have a contract and I’m a Williams driver for 2021,” he continued.
“[But] my management is Mercedes. I signed a deal with Mercedes back in 2016 and they are my managers. They invested in me, they put faith in me and that means a huge amount. I’m committed to Mercedes, so I’m happy and confident with my position under their guidance.”
Russell scored his first points in Formula 1 at the Sakhir Grand Prix with P9, even though he was looking a good shout for victory before Mercedes’ error in the pits and a puncture that followed as he hunted down leader Sergio Perez.
But now the Briton will return to Williams for the last race of the season as the Grove outfit look to avoid finishing 2020 without a point on the board.