F1 world champion Hamilton positive for coronavirus

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for the coronavirus and will Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, his Mercedes team said.

The 35-year-old Briton Hamilton has “mild symptoms,” according to Mercedes but “is otherwise fit and well.” He is isolating according to local protocols in Bahrain.

Hamilton said on social media he was “devastated” to miss the race and that he and his team had been taking “all the precautions we possibly can” to guard against infection.

At races Hamilton has usually stayed in accommodation at or beside the track to minimize risks.

Hamilton said he would isolate for 10 days but F1 rules mean he cannot return to the paddock until he tests negative.

Hamilton repeatedly tested negative ahead of last Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, which he won, but woke up with mild symptoms on Monday and was subsequently told a prior contact had tested positive for the virus.

Mercedes have not yet said who will replace Hamilton alongside team-mate Valtteri Bottas for the coming race weekend. Belgium’s Stoffel Vandoorne (28) and Esteban Gutierrez (29) of Mexico are the team’s reserve drivers.

Vandoorne, said Mercedes, is doing a Formula E test in Valencia on Tuesday before travelling to Bahrain as previously planned.

The Sakhir race on Sunday is the penultimate of the rearranged coronavirus season which ends December 13 in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton is the third driver of the season to test positive for the coronavirus after Racing Point duo Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.

Currently on 98 career pole positions, Hamilton will need to wait to next season to reach the century mark. And on 11 victories this year, he will be unable to match the record of the 13 shared by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.