By Shwetha Surendran
BU News Service
Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is set to miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19 Monday. Hamilton tested negative three times over the course of the previous week, but a fourth test subsequently came back positive.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One released a statement announcing the star driver tested positive for the virus after waking up with mild symptoms. This positive test result comes a mere 24 hours after Hamilton’s victory at Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Having already won the 2020 Formula One Drivers Championship, the British driver took to Instagram to say he’s “gutted not to be able to race this weekend, but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others.”
He is now in self-isolation for 10 days.
Hamilton’s absence leaves available the arguably most coveted racing seat in the fastest car for the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend. In an announcement earlier today, the team confirmed Williams Racing Formula One driver George Russell as Hamilton’s replacement.
Another driver in consideration for the role was Stoffel Vandoorne, the official Mercedes reserve driver, who flew into Bahrain from Formula-E testing in Valencia, Spain.
The grid for this weekend’s Grand Prix will also feature Formula Two driver Jack Aitken who will replace George Russell at Williams, and Pietro Fittipaldi filling in at Haas while Romain Grosjean recovers from his injuries from yesterday.