Lewis Hamilton says he is hopeful he will be able to complete his world championship-winning season at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton, 35, missed last Sunday’s penultimate round in Bahrain after contracting coronavirus while on holiday in Dubai.
The seven-time world champion posted a video on Tuesday, saying: “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 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 and thank every single one of you for sending me the amazing messages and videos. I really, really appreciate it. I hope that I can get back in the car soon.”
Williams’ George Russell stood in for Hamilton last Sunday and was on course for victory before a Mercedes pit-stop howler, and late puncture, derailed his chances of becoming only the fourth British driver to win a Formula One race this century. He eventually finished ninth.
Hamilton must return a negative Covid-19 swab before he is allowed to travel to Abu Dhabi.
And even then, he will await to see if the Abu Dhabi authorities will allow him to enter, with strict Covid-19 protocols in place for this weekend’s season-ending race.
The F1 world flew to Bahrain from Abu Dhabi on Monday on 10 charter planes ahead of Yas Island being put into lockdown. Hamilton must serve 10 days of quarantine in Bahrain, meaning the earliest he could possibly travel is Thursday. Practice for the concluding round starts on Friday.
FIA race director Michael Masi said: “It is very much a decision for the Bahraini health authorities to determine if Lewis is fit and complies with their regulations, and further for the Abu Dhabi authorities to determine their criteria.
“If Lewis meets the entry requirements of the respective governments, and complies with the testing protocol by returning a negative test prior to entering the paddock, then there is no problem from our perspective. As long as the driver participates in practice (on Friday) or qualifying (on Saturday) he is permitted to race.”
Hamilton has won 11 of the 16 rounds staged this season and wrapped up his seventh title in Turkey last month.
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