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Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton tests positive for coronavirus

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Lewis Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The seven-time Formula One world champion is in isolation after his positive result was announced on Tuesday morning.

“The FIA, Formula One and Mercedes Team can today confirm that during mandatory pre-race PRC testing for the Sakhir Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19,” Formula One said in a statement.

“In accordance with COVID-19 protocols, he is now isolating. All contacts have been declared. The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula One will ensure no wider impact on this weekend’s event.”

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Hamilton’s Mercedes team said Hamilton, 35, reported “mild symptoms” on the morning following Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, where he claimed his 11th win of the season.

“Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing program,” a statement from the Formula One team read.

“However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to his arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive.

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“Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest.”

Hamilton, who wrapped up his record-equalling seventh world championship in Turkey last month, is the third driver to have contracted the illness.

Sergio Perez missed the British and 70th anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone in August, while his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll also tested positive following October’s Eifel Grand Prix in Germany.

Sunday’s race will be the first Hamilton has missed since his debut at the 2007 season-opening race in Australia.

Mercedes has yet to confirm who will replace the Englishman for Sunday’s grand prix on the Outer Loop of the Bahrain International Circuit.

Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, formerly of McLaren, is in the running, while the world champions could also turn to British driver George Russell.

Russell, 22, is in his second season with Williams, but is a member of the Mercedes junior driver program.

-AAP

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