Mercedes will be without Lewis Hamilton for this coming weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after the seven-time world champion tested positive for Covid-19.
Hamilton, who sealed this year’s title in Turkey and won Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, was tested three times last week including Sunday afternoon as part of the regular testing programme, returning a negative result each time according to Mercedes.
However, on Monday morning, he woke up with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to his arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive.
Hamilton took another test and this returned a positive result. A subsequent retest confirmed the result. He is now isolating in accordance with Covid-19 protocols and public health guidelines in Bahrain.
Apart from mild symptoms, Mercedes say he is otherwise fit and well, with the entire team sending him best wishes for a swift recovery.
Close contacts of Hamilton are being retested following the Briton’s test result.
The Briton is the third F1 driver to test positive for Covid-19 this season, following Sergio Perez at Silverstone and Lance Stroll in Germany.
Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne will travel to Bahrain after Formula E testing in Valencia on Tuesday, as was previously planned. However, the team have yet to confirm who will replace Hamilton, saying they will do so in due course.
Hamilton will require a negative test before being allowed to return to the paddock, and therefore remains a doubt for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.