By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t compete in the Sakhir Grand Prix this Sunday.
Following his 95th grand prix victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton woke up with mild symptoms Monday morning which led to two COVID-19 tests with both coming positive. This took place after testing three times last week, all returning negative including the afternoon of his victory last Sunday.
As a result of being ruled out this weekend, the Brit’s streak of 265 consecutive grand prix races dating back to 2007 will also come to an end.
Hamilton has already locked up the championship at Istanbul last month, but his absence will leave a void in the paddock as he becomes the third driver (Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll being the others) to miss a grand prix weekend due to COVID-19 this season.
“Lewis is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines. Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him our very best wishes for a swift recovery,” said the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Tuesday morning.
Hamilton will need a negative test in order to return in the paddock for the final round in Abu Dhabi in two weeks time.
In the meantime, the question shifts to who’ll fill-in the sport’s top ride in the penultimate round of the world championship?
F1’s Senior Writer Lawernce Barretto tweeted that reserved driver Stoffel Vandoorne is expected to travel from his Formula E test in Valencia to Sakhir. However, he followed it up by saying it’s not a guarantee the Belgian racer will make his first F1 start since Abu Dhabi two years ago.
Mercedes is expected to announce Hamilton’s replacement soon.