Sergio Perez says he was “just unlucky” to be the first Formula 1 driver to contract COVID-19 as he defended his decision to return to Mexico between the Hungarian and British Grands Prix.

The Racing Point driver missed the past two races at Silverstone after contracting coronavirus last month when he travelled home to visit his injured mother after she had an accident.

He was replaced by Nico Hulkenberg but is returning to action at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona after testing negative for COVID-19.

Speaking ahead of his return to action, Perez stressed he was not to blame as he defended his decision to travel to Mexico, which is one of the world’s current coronavirus hotspots.

“I’ve put everything out in a video,” Perez said. “Where I went, any place I visited, anything I did after Hungary.

“Everything was done with extreme precautions, with very extreme lines. I was well aware what was going on. I think I was just unlucky.

“I haven’t done anything different to the rest of the paddock. So I was just the unlucky one to get it. That’s one thing. I am not willing to take any blame for that because anyone can get it, I was just the unlucky one.”

Reports emerged following Perez's initial positive test that he had met with sponsors and interacted with fans during his trip to Mexico. 

But Perez denied such claims, calling them "very unprofessional" and a "total lie". 

"It's a total lie," Perez said during an interview with F1. "I went to Mexico for two days to see my Mum, with all the precautions in place. I took care of everything. I followed all the guidelines.

"When I was in quarantine, I saw everything. I saw people saying I was taking selfies with a lot of people, and I made up the story about my Mum. So much bullshit, and so disrespectful.

"So many people here in Formula 1 tend to think we are bulletproof to the virus, and that is not the case. We are all very vulnerable to this, We have to take care of it.

"I have done nothing differently to anyone in this paddock, I took all the precautions, and it just happened to me.

"It happened to another friend in another team while I was in quarantine, he said: 'Look, I tested positive too'. It can just happen to anyone.

"But what kind of happened, if tomorrow there is someone else infected, people just make up stories instead of being worried about their health."

 

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