Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton missed the Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19. He remains in quarantine while waiting for negative tests that would clear him to return in time for the season's final race. Hamilton has now sent a message to the fans and told them to remain positive.
"Hi everyone, I hope you are well," Hamilton said in a Tuesday video. "I know I haven't been in touch much this past week, but it's definitely been one of the hardest weeks that I've had for some time. Just been focusing on recovering and trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race the final race in Abu Dhabi." The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the final race of the season, as well as the final opportunity for Hamilton to continue building on his record number of career wins (95).
Love and appreciate you all🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/Y4qs5sYlYg— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) December 8, 2020
Hamilton continued and said that he woke up "feeling great." He was able to take part in a workout and then record a video for his fans. He thanked everyone for their "wonderful messages" after he confirmed the positive coronavirus test.
News surfaced about Hamilton's positive test after he won the Bahrain GP. The seven-time champion had received three negative tests in the week leading up to the race, but he woke up on Monday with "mild symptoms." He underwent another test and received positive results. He also learned at the same time that a "contact prior to arrival" in Bahrain had also tested positive. He then took two more tests and confirmed that he had contracted the coronavirus.
Hamilton went into isolation while the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team confirmed that he would miss the Sakhir GP. The team reached an agreement with the Williams team to borrow George Russell for the race. The Mercedes driver performed well during qualifying but finished in ninth place overall.
Russell was actually in a position to win the Sakhir GP with a mere 40 laps remaining. This would have been his first career win and would have continued a dominant season for the Mercedes team. However, two separate "tire disasters" derailed his performance.
The first issue occurred when a caution sent both Russell and teammate Valtteri Bottas to the pits simultaneously. The crew messed up and put the wrong set of tires on both cars, forcing Bottas to remain in the pits and Russell to make another stop. He recovered and took the lead once again after falling to fifth, but another tire issue took away his final chance at victory. A slow puncture sent him to the pits for the fourth time.