Lewis Hamilton is hoping to recover from COVID-19 in time to race at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after posting his first video message on Instagram since he started his isolation.
The seven-time world champion tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday last week and missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix while he isolated in Bahrain. In an update to his fans on Tuesday, he spoke about his fight against the coronavirus and revealed that he had completed his first workout since developing symptoms.
He is hoping to return to the cockpit of his Mercedes this weekend in Abu Dhabi for the last Formula One race of the season.
“Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well,” he said in the message. “I know I’ve not been in touch this past week, but it’s definitely been one of the hardest weeks that I’ve had for some time.
“I’ve just been focusing on recovering and trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race in the final race in Abu Dhabi.
“I woke up today feeling great and got my first workout in, so I just wanted to send you guys a message of positivity and let you know that I’m OK. I want to thank every single one of you for sending the amazing messages and videos.
“I really, really appreciate it and I hope that wherever you are you are staying positive and fighting through whatever it is that you are facing. I hope that I can get back in the car soon and, yeah, I’m sending you guys love.”
Hamilton was replaced by Williams driver George Russell at the Sakhir Grand Prix, who remains on standby in case Hamilton is unable to race in Abu Dhabi.
“If Lewis recovers and he’s getting better every day and he’s considered COVID-free, negative [test result], then he will be in the car,” Wolff confirmed on Sunday.
In order to be declared fit to return to the F1 paddock, Hamilton will have to return a negative test result for COVID-19 in line with the FIA’s testing procedures. He will also have to comply with government guidelines in both Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in order to travel from Bahrain to the United Arab Emirates and arrive at the track.
The main part with all of this has always been complying with the respective governments’ laws and regulations,” FIA race director Michael Masi said.
“So it’s very much a decision for a the Bahraini health authorities to determine if Lewis is fit and complies with their regulations and then further for the Abu Dhabi authorities to determine their criteria. So it’s effectively two government entities that determine entry criteria.
“If he meets the entry criterias of the respective governments and then further complies with the testing protocol from an FIA perspective — to test negative prior to entering the paddock — then there’s no problems from our perspective.”
In order to enter Sunday’s race, he must also take part in either Saturday’s qualifying session or one of the three practice sessions on Saturday and Friday.