World champion Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19 and Zakhir will miss the Grand Prix this weekend, his Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team said on Tuesday.
The team released a statement Hamilton was tested three times last week and gave a negative result every time, the last time he won a Grand Prix on the Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday afternoon.
“But he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and at the same time was informed that he tested positive after an introduction before arriving in Bahrain,” the team said. “Lewis, therefore, took further testing and gave a positive result. This was confirmed by re-examination.”
Hamilton was left alone to comply with health protocols in Bahrain.
“In addition to the mild symptoms, he is healthy and well, and the whole team wishes him a speedy recovery,” the team statement said.
Hamilton, 35, was found dead at the end of a race in Bahrain.
“It’s physical, this track is always physical. We have a lot of high-speed corners, so I definitely feel like it,” he said after the GP. “I’ve been slipping a lot there and I’m not sure how it will play out in the end.”
There will be another race in Bahrain on Sunday before the end of the 17-race season in Abu Dhabi – on Zakhir’s short outer tur circuit.
Hamilton leads the F1 Drivers Championship with 332 points, followed by Mercedes teammate Valteri Batas with 201 points and Max Verstappen with 189 points.
The Mercedes team said it would announce a replacement driver later this week.
Hamilton has joined Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll as the third Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus this season.