New F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton says he is ‘devastated’ to be missing this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after receiving a positive diagnosis for COVID-19.
 
After three negative test results since arriving in Bahrain, Hamilton - who won the first of two grands prix that will be held at the Sakhir Circuit over the weekend - subsequently registered a positive test result on Monday morning.
 
Confirming he is exhibiting ‘mild symptoms’, he has been forced into self-isolation, ruling him out of this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, while he will now be a doubt for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix little more than a week away.

Coming after Hamilton wrapped up his seventh F1 world title in Turkey, the Briton took to social media to confirm he is well and to encourage vigilance among his fans because ‘you can never be too careful’.
 
“Hi guys, I’m devastated that I won’t be racing this weekend. Since we started the season in June, my team and I have been taking all the precautions we possibly can and following the regulations everywhere we’ve been in order to stay safe. 
 
“Unfortunately even though I returned three negative results this past week I woke up yesterday morning with mild symptoms and requested another test which came back positive. I’ve immediately gone into self-isolation for 10 days.
 
“I’m gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others. I’m really lucky that I feel OK with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy. 
 
“Please look after yourselves out there, you can never be too careful. These are worrying times for everyone and we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and each other. Stay positive.”
 
Hamilton’s enforced absence means Mercedes is sourcing a replacement to drive his  W11, which has won all but one race this season between both himself and Valtteri Bottas.
 
Favourite for the drive is Stoffel Vandoorne, who assumes Mercedes’ reserve role, though there is a chance the team will turn to its development driver George Russell provided he is released from his Williams contract.

 

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