Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19. Hamilton tested positive on Monday, the day after his victory at Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, in a mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix at the same circuit this weekend.
Hamilton tested negative three times the previous week, including Sunday afternoon ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, but he woke up Monday morning with mild symptoms and subsequently tested positive. He was informed Monday that a contact prior to his arrival in Bahrain also had tested positive.
The 35-year-old has already secured this year’s drivers’ title, but he will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix and could miss the season finale the week after in Abu Dhabi if he fails to return a negative test following ten days in isolation. It is not yet clear who will replace Hamilton at Mercedes, which has won 11 of this year’s 15 races.
Stoffel Vandoorne is listed as the team’s official reserve driver and is currently testing for Mercedes’ Formula E team in Valencia. He last raced in F1 for McLaren in 2018, and he will travel to Bahrain later this week to join the Mercedes F1 team. Hamilton is currently isolating in accordance with public health authority guidelines in Bahrain, and his contacts have been declared to the FIA.
“I’m devastated that I won’t be racing this weekend,” Hamilton wrote in an Instagram post. “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.