Photo: Courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Hamilton Cleared to Race at Abu Dhabi, Russell Returns to Williams

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Seven-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton will be back with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team for the season finale at Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton, a five-time grand prix winner at the Yas Marina Circuit, missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19 which marked the first time he wasn’t part of a GP weekend since his F1 career began in 2007.

From there, he had to complete health protocols required by the FIA where he spent time self-isolating before being tested once again to get approval for the finale.

On Wednesday, Hamilton tested negative for COVID-19 and was allowed to travel to Abu Dhabi the following day. Once arriving to the area, he once again tested negative which granted him approval to fight for a 12th grand prix win which will be a career-best.

As a result of this announcement, George Russell heads back to his main ride at Williams Racing after filling in for Hamilton last weekend.

When he drove Hamilton’s Mercedes, Russell showcased his talent by starting alongside his teammate and pole sitter Valtteri Bottas. During the race, Russell was the man to beat until a faulty pit stop denied him a shot of a maiden F1 victory.

Despite the obvious heartbreak, the young Brit rallied back to finish ninth and set the fastest lap of the race, marking his first-ever points result in his 37th grand prix start.

With Russell back with his main team, it meant Jack Aitken won’t be running the finale. Aitken finished 16th at Bahrain’s outer circuit following a Lap 61 crash which brought out the safety car that led to Mercedes’ pit stop woes with Russell and Bottas.

“Glad to see Lewis back and fighting fit,” said Russell on Twitter. “Had a blast with Mercedes, but now I’m buzzing to put everything I’ve learned into action with (Williams). Gonna give it everything this weekend — just as they do for me week in, week out.”

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.