Lewis Hamilton has declared himself “devastated” that he is having to miss the Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19.
In breaking his own silence on the matter, Hamilton, who has won the last five races, confirmed he had been experiencing mild symptoms of the coronavirus and that he is now self-isolating for 10 days – which also puts in jeopardy his participation at the concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 13.
A statement tweeted by Hamilton read: “Hi guys. I’m devastated that I won’t be racing this weekend.
“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.
“I’m gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others.
“I’m really lucky that I feel OK with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy.
“Please look after yourselves out there. You can never be too careful. These are worrying times for everyone and we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and each other. Stay positive.”
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) December 1, 2020
As of Tuesday lunchtime, Mercedes had yet to announce who will replace Hamilton in the Sakhir Grand Prix alongside Valtteri Bottas, with the leading contender expected to be official reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne who was set to be present in Bahrain anyway.
Hamilton will become the third F1 driver this season to miss a race due illness. Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19 and had to miss the two races at Silverstone, while his Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll sat out the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
Stroll, however, did not test positive for the coronavirus until after he had returned home. Nico Hulkenberg deputised for both of the Racing Point duo at short notice.
This will be the first time Hamilton has missed a race since his F1 career began in 2007.