Lewis Hamilton will not be competing in this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after testing positive for COVID-19, Mercedes has confirmed.
As Formula1.com reported, Hamilton first tested positive after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. He had reportedly been tested three times last week, including on Sunday afternoon as part of the organization’s regular testing program, but was negative each time.
But after waking up on Monday with mild symptoms and learning that a close contact had also become infected, he was given another test. In the latest one, Hamilton learned that he had COVID-19. Those who had been in close contact with him are now being tested as well, the report noted. There was not yet any indication whether others on the Mercedes team had tested positive.
Mercedes released a statement noting that Hamilton is feeling well as he isolates.
“Lewis is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain. Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery,” the team said, via MotorSport.com.
“We will announce our replacement driver plans for this weekend in due course.”
A number of other athletes worldwide have become infected, with some being forced to miss competition. In the United States, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton missed a game after contracting the virus, and several teams in the league have seen outbreaks within their facilities.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a halt earlier this year, with nearly all major sports suspending competition for several weeks starting in March. Formula 1 also put off the start of its season, canceling what was to be the opening race in the Australian Grand Prix. Other major international events have been delayed as well, including the 2020 Summer Olympics scheduled for Tokyo, which were moved to the summer of 2021.
It is unclear when Hamilton could return to the track. As Formula1.com reported, he needs a negative test before he can return, which creates uncertainty over whether he would be able to come back before the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton’s positive test comes at a time of rising infections worldwide, with many countries issuing new restrictions in order to slow the spread.
As Formula1.com noted, Hamilton is the third F1 driver to become infected this season, along with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.