Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says the decision to cancel the season-opening Australian Grand Prix was “the right call” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Melbourne race was abandoned after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in the Woking squad withdrawing from the event.

Hamilton's Mercedes team confirmed it sent a letter to F1 and the FIA to request the cancellation race following the outbreak of coronavirus in the paddock.

Hamilton, who had already admitted that he was “surprised” and “shocked” that the Australian Grand Prix was initially going ahead as planned in the build up to the weekend, praised the decision to call off the race on social media.

“Sadly, this is the right decision,” Hamilton said in a post on Twitter.

“No one wants this, we all want to get in our cars and get racing, but we have to be realistic and we must put health and safety first.

“The reality is, this is really serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people being affected financially and emotionally.

“No one really knows the extent of what we are dealing with, but we should all take precautions to keep as many people as safe as possible.

“I know it’s disappointing, as sport unites us when times are tough, but it’s the right call.

“Listen to the advice everyone, keep safe. Hope to be back racing soon but in the meantime look after yourselves.”

There are now serious doubts over whether upcoming races in Bahrain and Vietnam on March 22 and April 5 will take place, with F1 bosses currently evaluating the possibility of suspending competition until June.

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How the other drivers reacted on social media: