YAS MARINA • Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said he hopes to return for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after one of the hardest weeks of his life following his Covid-19 infection.
The Mercedes driver, who secured his record-equalling seventh title in Turkey last month, missed last Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive in Bahrain.
“I know I’ve not been in touch this past week but it has been one of the hardest weeks I’ve had for some time,” the 35-year-old Briton said in a video on social media on Tuesday.
“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 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, let you know I’m OK. I hope that I can get back in the car soon.”
Hamilton did not say whether he had tested negative yet, which will be a requirement for travel to Abu Dhabi for Sunday’s race.
Formula One teams and associated personnel were allowed to enter Abu Dhabi on Monday on specific flights from Bahrain, with staff then confined to circuit hotels within a protective bubble.
Hamilton would be able to fly to the emirate on a private jet but would still need approval.
In the seven-time champion’s absence, stand-in George Russell sparkled in Bahrain but was denied a maiden win due to a pit-stop mix-up and late puncture. The Briton finished ninth.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Russell, who normally drives for Williams, would stand in again if Hamilton is unavailable.
But he is positive Hamilton is “on the right track”, adding: “If the doctors’ prognosis is correct, he could manage to deliver a negative test on Thursday or Friday.”
Practice starts tomorrow and Hamilton, who has won 11 of the 16 races in a season cut short by the pandemic, will need to be cleared by Saturday’s qualifying if he is to race.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE