Lewis Hamilton says he has endured one of his “hardest weeks” in batting coronavirus, but still hopes to be back racing Formula 1 at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The world champion tested positive for COVID-19 on the Monday after the Bahrain Grand Prix, and has been in enforced isolation at his hotel since then.
His absence from last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix gave George Russell the opportunity to step up to Mercedes, with the young Briton battling for the win before his hopes of victory were dashed by a bungled pitstop and a late puncture.
Speaking on social media for the first time since being struck down with coronavirus, Hamilton sounded a little low on energy but said he was encouraged that he had finally been able to get a workout in for the first time.
“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,” he posted on Instagram.
“I’ve just been focusing on recovering and trying to get back in shape, so I can get back in the car and race 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, let you know that I’m okay and thank every single one of you for sending me the amazing messages and videos.
“I really, really appreciate it. And I hope that wherever you are, you’re staying positive and fighting through whatever it is that you’re facing. I hope that I can get back in the car soon.”
Hamilton will need to get a negative test result in Bahrain before being allowed to travel to Abu Dhabi.
Then, due to unprecedented biosphere restrictions that have been imposed for the season finale, he would need a further 48 hours of isolation before being allowed in to the F1 paddock.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had admitted earlier this week that Hamilton was not having the greatest of times dealing with the virus, as he was forced to miss his first F1 race since he entered the sport in 2007.
“It’s pretty ugly what he has gotten into,” said Wolff during a media event hosted by Sky Germany. “And if you’re not at home, but lying in your hotel room, it’s naturally unpleasant.”
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