Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said Lewis Hamilton is “not great” following his positive test for Covid-19 in Bahrain.
Hamilton has been ruled out of the Sakhir Grand Prix and replaced by George Russell after waking up on the Monday morning after the Bahrain Grand Prix with mild symptoms.
A test and a re-test both came back positive and Hamilton is already in a race against time to return for the season finale next weekend in Abu Dhabi after now being placed in self-isolation.
Following the conclusion of FP1 in Sakhir, where stand-in Russell topped the session, Wolff provided an update on the seven-time World Champion currently watching on from the sidelines.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) December 1, 2020
“He is not great,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1. “Covid-19 is something you mustn’t take lightly and he is in safe hands. That is the most important.
“But it is those early days that are always not so nice.
“Mild symptoms and then obviously, as you can imagine, a race driver out of his car and combine it with Covid, he would rather sit in there [the team garage].”
Wolff was also asked about how Russell reacted when speaking to him on the phone about replacing Hamilton for at least one race.
“Russell was not in any shape or form enthusiastic about it [out of respect for Hamilton],” Wolff added.
“But he coped well [in FP1]. We had a chat this morning and yesterday and it all seems very natural. There is no great excitement about being in the car because he knows he needs to deliver a solid job.
“He is taking the car of the one greatest champions of all-time and needs to get there gradually. This is a totally different track layout.”
Although Hamilton is not “feeling great”, Wolff thinks return at the final race weekend of the season is still a realistic option for his star driver.
“We’ve seen tests were negative within 10 days so that is perfectly feasible in my opinion, but it would be a very positive development,” Wolff said.
“Nevertheless you need to look at the situation anyway because there is many athletes in sports out there that have tested positive for a long time after any symptoms and after being any way infectious.
“So it’s something the FIA needs to look into anyway.”