Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Hamilton to miss Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for Covid-19, Formula 1 has announced.

The Mercedes driver, who clinched the world championship in the Turkish Grand Prix two weeks ago, will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix as a result and may also be forced out of next week’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton tested negative for Covid-19 on Sunday, but after reporting symptoms on Monday took a further test which produced a positive result. This was confirmed by a re-test.

He learned on Monday a person he had been in contact with prior to reaching Bahrain had tested positive for Covid-19. Hamilton, who had also tested negative for Covid-19 on three occasions last week, is now in isolation and according to the team has “mild symptoms” and is “otherwise fit and well”.

Mercedes is yet to confirm who will replace Hamilton in this weekend’s race on Bahrain’s Outer circuit. The team’s reserve driver is former McLaren F1 racer Stoffel Vandoorne, who now drives for Mercedes in Formula E and is testing for them at Valencia today. He was due to join the team in Bahrain this weekend before news of Hamilton’s positive test came to light.

Hamilton is the third driver this year to miss a race following a Covid-19 infection. Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll were also forced to miss rounds earlier this year for the same reason.

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Notable positive Covid-19 cases in F1

18/03/2020One team memberMcLaren
30/07/2020Sergio PerezRacing PointMissed British and 70th Anniversary grands prix
08/10/2020Six team membersMercedes
13/10/2020Two team membersRenault
21/10/2020Lawrence StrollRacing Point
21/10/2020Lance StrollRacing PointMissed Eifel Grand Prix
30/10/2020Four team membersRacing Point
11/11/2020Simon RobertsWilliams
16/11/2020Mario IsolaPirelli
26/11/2020Jonathan WheatleyRed Bull
1/12/2020Lewis HamiltonMercedesTo miss Sakhir Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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147 comments on “Hamilton to miss Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19”

  1. Get well soon, Lewis. But what an opportunity for whoever steps in.

    1. Yes, good thing they sealed both championships already, so now Lewis can go and try to relax while going through Covid. Hope he only gets mild symptoms and recovers completely and soon.

      I guess Vandoorne will be driving that car (he was planned to arrive anyway to join the team and be there for the test session after the season)? Or would they draft in Russel for a race or 2?

      1. Would love to see Russell in the car (if Mercedes have the opportunity to make that happen). Of all the Mercedes drivers, he’s the one that has the most potential for the future.

        The idea of Vandoorne taking that seat is disappointing. Promising junior career but out of F1 for good reasons.

        1. I’m pretty sure he didn’t have the same car as Alonso… At least Mercedes will give Vandoorne the same equipment.

    2. Whomever gets in that car will be under extreme pressure this weekend! I’d like to see how Russell would do in it since he’s likely to head that direction eventually anyway. The one plus is it won’t take long to memorize the circuit aswell as everything else

      1. But not under as much pressure as Bottas!

        1. I will not comment on Lewis’ status. Let’s just leave him to recover, and hopefully recovering from the virus does not impact anything in his career, as I am still keeping my fingers cross to meet him in the future in any race I watch live.

          Excluding the seriousness, Haha. Bottas has the chance to win a race, and to take advantage of Hamilton’s absence to lead the team. I expect Vandoorne or Gutierrez to drive, since they are the reserve drivers. Unless Wolff decides to put Russell in the seat, it is highly unlikely, and I would be shocked if it Russell drives the chassis this weekend.

          I wonder how many calls Toto has gotten ever since that announcement lol.

  2. Ohhhhh interesting, i guess the expectation is a Bottas win then.

    1. Haha, dont think so

    2. You’d think so…imagine Bottas losing to a guy who’s never stepped into a Merc this whole season and beating him.

      1. Bottas will need to beat Max before he can worry about whoever is in the other Merc…

      2. @exediron @icarby @Mayrton @RL
        Losing to a replacement would be an embarrassment for Bottas, given his sizeable advantage in car familiarity over both Vandoorne and Hulkenberg.

        1. @jerejj, agreed so… Bottas for the win then? 2nd for Max and 3rd for Albon same podium just a different Merc driver? Should be straight forward no?

          1. I really doubt albon will be on the podium again, and let’s see who the replacement is, I wouldn’t rule out a capable driver could beat bottas, he seems barrichello-like this season.

  3. Get well soon Lewis! Toto, please call Hulk so he can have his podium finally!

    1. @andycz Either Hulkenberg has his first-ever F1 podium, or Russell gets his first-ever F1 points. Would be a shame if Vandoorne was the replacement, he did OK as a replacement in Bahrain in 2016, but he proved during his stint at McLaren that he is not quite top level.

      1. @mashiat How can you possibly have Hulkenberg or Russell at top level?

        1. @balue By top level, I don’t mean elite level. Vandoorne was among the 5 worst drivers in 2018 when he last raced in F1.

        2. Russell, with a 40-0 or something quali record, has definite potential to become top level. We can’t judge him any more than that Williams car permits, and he’s consistently driven that car far better than Kubica or Latifi ever did. We can only compare him to them so far. Imagine of Russell would get the chance, and he outqualifies Bottas from the very first go. That’d be quite something…

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            1st December 2020, 8:49

            @chrischrill – I don’t think they’d want to put Russell in the car at the moment to be honest. They’ve won both titles and will be more bothered with trying to get Bottas some victories than anything else.

            The last thing Toto needs is for Russell to win both races as it would go against their current campaign to convince everyone that Bottas is right on Hamilton’s tail. A comfortable win for Bottas against someone who hasn’t driven in F1 for a while makes a lot more sense.

          2. @chrischrill

            SO you only watch qually? I saw the races aswell and even when Russell didn’t bin it, he was so super cautious he’d find himself behind Latifi.

            Hes nowhere near ready, in an case hes in a Williams. Such rubbish talked about Russell before hes done anything against anyone at all decent

      2. That really is a shallow judgement of Vandoorne, but it’s a very common behavior nowadays. Hero one day, zero the next. With all he did before joigning F1, and what he did after (just look at the 2 races he had with SMP last year), he certainly is a very good driver.

        1. Vandoorne and Da Costa never had a chance.

        2. Vandoorne, or any driver who can avoid major errors for the duration of a race, WILL WIN in that car.
          So if you make a list of the error-prone, put them to one side, then select at random from the rest: that driver [whosoever it is] will beat Bottas and win the race.

          1. Therefore, not Seb, not Hulk, not Giovinazzi, not Kubica, not Russell, and certainly not Grosjean or Johnny Herbert or Paul Diresta.
            All others please step forward and take a win and a title if you’re here for a season.

          2. Bottas is the slowest professional racing driver active today. Got it.

          3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            1st December 2020, 9:27

            Vandoorne also has experience of being a replacement driver at Bahrain and delivering a result

    2. George Russel please? Thanks

  4. I hope he recovers soon, but I can’t lie and say this doesn’t intrigue me slightly. I expect Mercedes will either promote Vandoorne, or Russell will move up to Mercedes and Vandoorne will join Williams. I really hope it’s the latter, I would love to see George Russell given a chance in the Mercedes, even if it isn’t in the most ideal of circumstances. Will be good for Mercedes to also evaluate how he compares relative to Bottas.

    1. As much as I don’t agree with your very negative judgement of Vandoorne, I do agree that for Mercs, he would make sense to put Russel in the Mercedes and Vandoorne at Williams. Lots of pressure, but it will be so whatever the choice they make. Russels has now a bit of experienced, he fully up to speed and a good chances to see what he can do compared to Bottas. And Vandoorne would be happy to have a little taste again at F1, even in a Williams.

  5. No way! Last thing I expected. Obviously hope he gets well soon, but…
    Big opportunity for someone…
    Big opportunity for Bottas to impose himself on that someone and prove that not just ‘anyone’ can win in that car.
    Big opportunity for Verstappen to get another win if Bottas continues to misfire.
    I’m looking forward to this weekend now.

  6. I think Stoffel Vandoorne’s target should be third. It is unlikely he would manage it in the Sakhir GP, but if he gets another go in Abu Dhabi I think he will get on the podium. I hope he does, as he really isn’t as bad as he looked against Alonso.

  7. I hope we get info on how this happened. Given the testing protocols they have it’s likely Lewis contracted the infection this past weekend at Bahrain itself, which means a lot of Merc mechanics will have to quarantine as well.

    Big opportunity for Bottas though. I don’t see a Vandoorne or a Hulk stepping in and being immediately quicker than him. Also given the covid bubbles I don’t think they’re gonna pry Russell out of Williams just for a weekend. Valtteri should be able to walk to victory in the power-hungry Loop and the slow corner fest in Aba Dabby.

    1. Will Buxton wrote that Hamilton tested negative 3 times last week, but felt some symptoms yesterday and learned that a person he had been in contact with was positive, so he had the test and it came out positive.

      Clearly had to get infected before going to Bahrain, since they have quite strict quarantine laws @wsrgo. Quite likely Lewis won’t be able to go to Abu Dhabi because of that too (14 days quarantine period). I guess the team will be retesting a few people around them. Possibly also both Red Bull drivers, since they were with him on the podium and in the press conference afterwards?

      1. @bascb Thanks, Bas, I didn’t know about the particulars. I was under the assumption that drivers get tested prior to the weekend starting, that’s why I thought he would have picked it up in the weekend. Also, even though there are strict quarantine laws, clearly the fact that both Red Bull drivers are at risk shows that these measures have become less effective. I wince everytime I see them fist bump or hug (like when Lewis and Schumi Jr did at the Eifel GP) or something.

        1. Coventry Climax
          1st December 2020, 12:46

          Sorry, but your “I didn’t know about the particulars” says a lot about you, about your haste or eagerness to write and be heard as well as your poor reading ability.
          (Sub)paragraph 4: “He learned on Monday a person he had been in contact with prior to reaching Bahrain had tested positive for Covid-19. Hamilton, who had also tested negative for Covid-19 on three occasions last week, ….. .”

          Apart from podium ceremony and press moments, anyone else noticed that Hamilton did not wear a mask directly after the race, ‘high-fiving’ his team members? According to what is said in the article, he must have been positive at that time already.

          1. When I wrote the comment that particular update had not been added.

      2. He should be ok for Abu Dhabi, no? Unless he has symptoms which prevent that of course. He would 4 days spare before Abu Dhabi Friday practice after a quarantine period of 14days beginning yesterday.
        Would’ve loved to see him equal the 13 win record this year but alas. May as well call it off here Lewis and consider it a job very much well done for 2020. Get yourself ready to sweep all aside in 2021 as SIR Lewis Hamilton 🇬🇧

        1. It depends on the policy that Abu Dhabi has on this.
          In Greece for example an athlete can participate in an event even before the 14 days of quarantine have passed if within this period two separate tests return a negative result.

        2. Tommy Scragend
          1st December 2020, 10:22

          He should be ok for Abu Dhabi, no? Unless he has symptoms which prevent that of course. He would 4 days spare before Abu Dhabi Friday practice after a quarantine period of 14days beginning yesterday.

          I don’t know what his actual isolation period is, but if it is 14 days from yesterday (30th November) then how would he have “4 days spare”? Fourteen days from 30th November is 14th December – the Abu Dhabi GP is on the 13th, and of course the weekend starts a couple of days earlier than that.

          1. Oh…ok. I wasnt aware this was a triple header. I thought there was a 2 week break after sakhir GP. Thanks for the correction.

      3. @bascb Good note about the Red Bull drivers. Despite not being in the same team, they might also face a requirement for isolation, and thus, be forced to sit out at least Bahrain 2 since they were with HAM in the same places at the same time and close to him. I doubt this would happen, but on the off chance, the likely replacements would be Juri Vips (he’s been with the team for the last two rounds in reserve capacity) and Hulkenberg, or maybe Buemi should Mercedes choose Hulkenberg instead of Vandoorne.

  8. Hopefully the reports that pre-symptomatic people aren’t easy spreaders of Covid is true, otherwise there’s a risk of quite a few members of Lewis’ side of the garage may end up testing positive over the next few days prior to FP1 on Friday.

    1. Actually asymptomatic people can be ‘superspreaders’ as shown by that idiot in Bolton, earlier this year

      Like everything with this virus, it varies in how it’s spread

      1. Asymptomatic spread IS NOT A THING! Stop saying it is!

    2. Actually from what I saw, pre-symptomatic people can well be even super spreaders Oople.

      1. Also, NOT TRUE. Stop repeating nonsense you “heard”.

    3. This is a valid point, but also why teams work in bubbles. Mercedes can safely run Hamilton’s car even if forced to withdraw his bubble of mechanics.

  9. Imagine this…Hulkenberg (or anybody replacing Lewis) goes on to win a race or two..!!!
    Jeez..that would be crazy. Valtteri better make it two in two.

    1. @webtel
      And embarrassing for Bottas, given how big an advantage in car familiarity he has over both Vandoorne and Hulkenberg, neither of who have driven the W11 for even a single millimeter. The former has, of course, driven its virtual version in the team sim, but not IRL.

      1. @jerejj things just got tougher for him.

  10. I hope the replacement will be Vandoorne. Otherwise, it can smell strange and casualty timely.

    1. In what way? A Merc conspiracy to…do what?

      1. Not a conspiracy, I was not thnking this big. But possibly Wolff wanted to try Russell and stating publicly that Hamilton is going to be off only for try Russell, is not good image for Merc, Wolff and Hamilton. So we say Hamilton have Covid and try Russell without being critizised. Anyway, don’t pay too much attention to me, I was only gaming myself mentally, I guess it’s too difficult and far-fetched to fake something like that.

    2. Vandoorne is the most logical option: he’s the third driver, he drives for them in Formula E. Giving him the drive would acknowledge they think he drives well.

  11. I didn’t see this coming all of a sudden at all. Get well soon.
    As for the temporary replacement: I’d hope for Hulkenberg so that he could finally achieve his first top-three finish in F1, maybe even a win depending on Bottas’ performance, but more likely, it’s going to be Vandoorne since he’s already in the team.

  12. Surely the only course of action is to give the Hulk a drive and grant him his podium. C’mon Toto do the right thing!

  13. “Put anyone else in that car and they’ll win.”

    We shall see.

    1. Indeed. It’s a big opportunity for someone but the win is a tall order.

    2. I’ll take the bait for a second and hope you realize that comment doesn’t imply “put anyone into that car at the last minute without preparation and they’ll immediately be on pace and win.”

      1. That’s exactly what the Hamilton naysayers would have us believe. “Anyone can win in that car” is their trope,

        1. As someone who thinks hamilton is overrated in virtue of the cars he drove I’m gonna say those you can put in the car and you can expect to win (but not at the last moment, give them half a season) need to be good enough to beat bottas obviously, I’d say: verstappen, leclerc, sainz, norris, perez, ricciardo, maybe stroll, maybe vettel on occasion, maybe gasly, depending on which driver they should be able to outperform bottas more or less over a season and would on occasion be beaten by verstappen on current red bull, no other car is good enough to threaten atm.

    3. Hulkenberg got into the RP at the last minute and was still a long way off the pace of Stroll. Bottas is a better driver than Stroll so should be easily one second per lap quicker.

  14. So no record for most win in a season for Hamilton lol

  15. Get well soon, Lewis.
    At least there was no risk of him infecting his team mate on the podium last Sunday.

    1. @adrianmorse But the Red Bull drivers, yes.

  16. Lets hope he is getting well and that Stoffel wil win the GP instead. But i would be glad if he get third.

    So Lewis met a person (who tested posivtive) before the weekend and monday he got sick covid needs only a small time to hit home.

    And for those Flu persons normal Flu don’t kill healthy persons or cripple them for a long time. Personal i lost a friend (Bootcamp instructor) in march and now my brother has it. The big difference is Doctor now know what to do to reduce complains as the midrif mussel is the area who kills people.

    1. What I dislike about comments comparing flu and COVID-19 is the way they dismiss the flu as something of no importance. Flu kills untolds thousands of people every year in developed countries and the flu pandemic of 1918-20 was the deadliest in history in absolute terms (though the Black Death pandemic of the XIV century had probably a higher fatality/case rate), worse still, it killed millions of young, healthy people. An equally lethal flu pandemic could return any year and our present flu vaccines are woefully inadequate. The present COVID pandemic, while abismally less lethal than the post-Great War flu pandemic, is certainly more lethal than the average yearly flu epidemic, but by no more than an order of magnitude. Moreover, for fit and healthy young people, the lethality rate of COVID-19 is very low, probably much lower than 1/1000 (figures up to 2/1000 have been reported in the 20-29 age bracket, but they are most certainly an overestimation, as most cases in this age group are mild/asymptomatic and go undiagnosed and unreported.

      I don’t have access to LH medical records, but I assume he is a fit, healthy 25 year old man, and his risk of severe disease/complications/sequels/death should be extremely low, and yes, not significantly different from a flu episode. In other words, he might as well live.

      1. While what you say is true, there have is still a large amount of fit, sporty young people contracting covid in spring and still dealing with the consequences in summer, and even now (not sure whether being sportive is an extra risk, or their good pre-COVID condition means they note the difference more though). We don’t yet know the final long term cost yet. But indeed ‘just a flu’ is wrong both because COVID-19 is clearly more dangerous (but not infinitely more so) and because a strong flu isn’t just something to shake off.

      2. I assume you mean 35 though, which puts him a risk area above, as in 20-29 is significantly lower than 30-39.

        1. You’re right, but it doesn’t change much. The highest lethality/case reported rates were 2.2/1000 (Spain) for the 20-29 yr bracket, and 3.0/1000 (Italy) for the 30-39 yr bracket. Again, these rates are surely gross overestimations, as they came from a time in the pandemics in which there was a relative paucity in available tests in both countries and almost only people with serious symptoms were being tested

  17. Has to be Rosberg in the car.

    1. @unitedkingdomracing Rosberg hasn’t raced in four years, hasn’t raced with this era of quicker cars, nor with the modern-day Pirelli tyres. And I’m not sure he would want to anyhow. He won the championship with his last ever lap in F1, I think he’d like to keep it that way.

      1. After what happened to Grosjean on the weekend, this is not a sport where you expect a man out of motor racing for four years to just jump in the car.

    2. There’s just the small issue of him not having a super licence, but go ahead, give him a call…

      1. @scbriml True, his super license got expired after last year because of not doing any F1 race over the last three years. To get it valid again, he’d have to do at least 300 km in a modern car at proper speeds.
        @unitedkingdomracing @mashiat @deanfranklin

  18. It’s a triple header so can’t see how he can be ready to go for Abu Dhabi practice in a week and a half from now.

    Not going to get Schumacher’s single season win record despite such car dominance.

    I’d hate to think this is the result of taking risks after sealing the championship in Turkey. We know Perez took a risk flying back to Mexico and that’s how he caught COVID. Hopefully they get to the bottom of this in order to learn from it for next year. Bubbles need to be stronger.

    It would be incredible to see Hulkenberg in the Merc. Good chance to get a podium in the most dominant car of all time.

    I’m not sure whether they’d put Russell in because it will be very embarrassing if he comes in and beats Bottas.

    1. @deanfranklin

      Not going to get Schumacher’s single-season win record despite such car dominance.

      And Schumacher was driving what, the 5th fastest car in F1 in 2004? Schumacher won 13 races out of 18 in 2004, while Hamilton has won 11 out of 15, which is a better win percentage record. Hamilton hasn’t finished off the podium in any race yet, which Schumacher did. Moreover, Barichello had 77% of the points of Schumacher, while Bottas currently has 60% of Hamilton’s total, so that just proves how dominant the Ferrari was.

      1. @mashiat The F2004 definitely was the outright fastest car of its active season.

        1. @jerejj That is the point I was making. Schumacher only achieved 13 wins in a season because of how dominant his car was. Same with Vettel in 2013 and Hamilton this season. You can’t win that many races without a dominant car.

      2. @mashiat didn’t Hamilton finish fourth in Austria (after a penalty, not on the road)

        1. @djarvis You are indeed correct, that is my mistake.

    2. It would only be embarrassing for Bottas if he loses to whomever drives the other Merc.

      1. @scbriml True considering his sizeable advantage in car familiarity over both Vandoorne and Hulkenberg (most likely options in this order).

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        1st December 2020, 9:47

        @scbriml – It would be embarrassing for the whole team. If Russell came in and won straight away, it would open up a bunch of difficult to answer questions about why Bottas was in the seat instead of Russell.

        They’d either have to admit that they have a number 1 / number 2 structure or they’d have to admit that Russell is a better option that Bottas…..

        1. @petebaldwin Or they would need to “admit” that Russel signed a three year contract

    3. I’m pretty sure Hamilton took a more ‘relaxed’ approach after sealing the title.

    4. the most dominant car of all time.

      I still believe it was the Ferrari sharknose, 1961. As for the most dominant team of all time, it certainly was McLaren 1988

  19. I wish him a speedy recovery, although according to some, he’s gonna miss the last two rounds. Stoffel Vandoorne might get hit shot at once-in-a-lifetime resulty, but Verstappen’s now becoming my secret favourite for the Sakhir Grand Prix. Does anybody know what’s the top speed comparison between Mercedes and Red Bull from the last weekend?

    1. Geez, so many typos. *his shot, *result.

    2. First I read this as you thinking Verstappen would join Mercedes for the two rounds, and I was about to throw a tantrum! :D

      1. I would think Bottas would throw a tantrum :) if Max would take that seat!

        But i think Max is going to make sure he is going before Bottas.

    3. @pironitheprovocateur both very low in the speed traps in qualifying. Verstappen bottom and both Mercedes in the bottom 6.


      Not sure how relevant that is though because they will be running a much lower downforce setup for next weekend. Maybe Monza or Spa might be better comparisons.

    4. Imagine if Stoffel makes it 2/2 podiums. By those results he could have a shot of driving for some teams in 2022 if the timing is right.

    5. @pironitheprovocateur Verstappen always runs with extremely high downforce. While Alpha Tauri drivers regularly have the highest top speeds.

  20. So he went to a party ehem ehem… The super “vegan” ordinary kid, went to a party again… LOL.

    1. Where did you get that from? F1 personal are not allowed to do anything in bahrain so no partying there

    2. Ah alex again, you’re normally sour mouthed towards Max. Lewis’s turn is it. If only you were funny, it would help, you just sound a bit envious, maybe get a girlfriend or a hobby or something?

    3. Nothing wrong with partying? Didn’t he get suspended from high school for partying?

    4. Apart from having zero evidence, are you suggesting that vegans a) can’t attend parties or b) can’t catch viruses?

      1. Its in any case quite the opposite, if you read the piece on Autosport hes been more cautious than most, not staying in hotels and keeping his bubble to his personal trainer. Still, any opportunity for tiresome comments from some people

  21. For how crazy it may sound:
    I would like to see Perez in the merc as the RP is a merclone. This should ensure an easier transition. Then Hulk inthe RP that he drove slready.

    Maybe in reality will be the other way around.

    1. RP are trying to finish third in the championship.

      1. You’re right. Wishful thinking.

  22. #bringbackthehulk

  23. Two favourites for his seat in my opinion – Vandoorne and Hulkenberg.

  24. Perez in the merc would beat Bottas

  25. I feel an incredible sadness for you people. I hope sanity returns to you after we get regular vaccinations.

  26. Look at the deaths with Covid compared to from Covid. All the numbers are with Covid, car crash and test positive for Covid? death says died from Covid, look it up yourself.

  27. The holiday starts early for Lewis! At least now he can duck the questions on his plans for next year. Who will they pick for the seat? Hulk already knows the pink Mercedes so might be a good choice. Whoever they go with I expect Bottas will still be relegated to No.2 status.

  28. Get well soon Lewis!

    On the other hand, suddenly there is interest in these last 2 races!! I really want Russell to be given one chance. This season hasn’t been the best for him (the silly mistake under safety car, Austrian GP errors). It feels like he is getting frustrated at the back of the grid and remarked in a recent interview that he misses going wheel to wheel with his F2 rivals – Albon, Leclerc, Norris. Over and above, he has to spend a 3rd season in Williams after this.
    Give the lad 2 races and see what he can do. Bottas is anyways not a long term option.

    Putting Hulk would be a sentimental choice without any long term potential for Mercedes. Remember, this is a team that right after wrapping this year’s championships went ahead and did the most testing on 2021 tyres at the first instance available. No time for sentiments / celebrations here.

    Putting Vandoorne in the car would also serve little purpose. If Vandoorne defeats Bottas, Mercedes will have to face unnecessary public scrutiny over why Bottas is being chosen, who will also lose a lot of confidence. If Bottas defeats Vandoorne, that was expected to happen, what new did Mercedes learn about their own test driver then?

    Go George!!

    1. Seconded.. nice logic

  29. Did he breached any covid protocols?

    1. Well i dont think you can get covid-19 by staying in a room by yourself

      1. @fish123 They are not mutually exclusive. You can still get COVID-19 without breaching any protocols in theory.

  30. Maybe Bottas could give his seat a try? Let some poor sap get his

  31. Can’t wait for the Sakhir GP! Finally the answer to the debate is it Hamilton or the Car will be solved. If a driver can just jump in with no testing and finish either 1st or 2nd then clearly it is the car!

    My bet is on Ocon replacing Hamilton and Alonso making an early return to Renault

    1. Well, apart from the fact that Ocon is contracted to a rival manufacturer, and that Alonso can’t get to Bahrain in time for the mandatory quarantine period, I’d say you’re spot on.

      More likely to be Vandoorne in the Mercedes, given that he is the reserve driver. Whoever it is I wouldn’t expect them to be on the pace immediately – we know how difficult these cars are to adapt to at short notice.

      1. Remember Alonso lives in Dubai… Considering that im sure neighbouring countries will have some exceptions for one another…

        Vandoorne is no where near good enough. If not Ocon, it should be Hulkenberg

    2. @fish123 Ocon is 100% under contract at Renault. The only realistic options at this notice are Vandoorne and Hulkenberg.

  32. Wow. I can see why he was focused on the championship so hard, he was saying time after time that one can never know what can happen and tjat he wanted to wrap it up asap. I cant remember who he was around during the podium but I recall him chatting with no mask on at one point to someone. I really hope they give Russell a shot, they have wrapped up both championships and this is a great moment to assess him as a 2022 seat candidate.

  33. I really really hope they put Russel in there. A driver with a proven pedigree and will give us a very very good image of how dominate (or slightly faster) that Mercedes is, especially if he races sakhir and the following race.
    Vandoorne can slot in for russel at Williams.

    I wouldn’t mind Hulkenberg filling in for Mercedes too. He has experience with the pink one

  34. I never comment, and I don’t think this discussion should take place here, but some comments should not go unanswered, and just removing them is not going to help our society either.


    Look at Sweden, the sweedish government is not part of the “world reset” agenda.

    Sweden’s cases and deaths have gone up in the past weeks, if you haven’t noticed. Per capita, they are comparable to US and UK now.
    Also, look at countries like Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Russia, where media are heavily controlled by ruling governments who attempted to deny the risks of Covid. Yet they are struggling with many deaths as well.
    One would really have to be gullible to believe that so many countries and media can all be working together on a “world reset” agenda.

  35. @DeanR
    Then don’t. Just look at the excess death rates. And look at what’s happening at hospitals all over the world now that people have started to pick up their old habits.
    Again, I wish we would not have to discuss this, and certainly not here, but letting false claims or even doubts go unanswered, is causing people and democracies to die.

  36. Please universe, Hulkenberg on the podium? ;___;

  37. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    1st December 2020, 9:40

    Whoever gets that drive will have their hands full with Bottas. He’s been close in terms of lap times with Ham in qualifying so expect a pole from him but his starts…….

  38. To me it becomes a question of fairness, and I realize that this is not necessarily a fundamental principle behind F1 driver decisions, but: if the team employs Vandoorne as its reserve driver, then they should put him in the car. After all, why else employ him?

  39. Could well miss the last two races, see you in 2021 Lewis.

    Give Russell a chance.

  40. Mercedes have a great opportunity here to garner some free publicity by going outside the usual pool.

    But they’ll probably do the boring thing and stick Vandoorne in the car.

  41. Get well soon, Lewis!

    It would be funny to finally put Russell in that car, and instead of racing for that point he would win a race, or at least finish on the podium :)
    Binned it or not, I think it’s not all about consistency, especially if there are only few opponents like Lewis in the comparable cars, so if someone has extreme peak performance than one can make up for some errors, and can harvest more points than a more consistent driver. At Imola Kimi already caught up on Russell before his accident. Kimi had fresh and softer tyres compared to (IIRC) Russell’s worn (30 laps inside?) hard tyres. To keep a slightly better car + better tyres combo behind against DRS for 10+ laps? :) No wonder that he tried to warm those old hards with extreme manquvers, because like it or not, Kimi had much better chances to grab that point. So imo he binned it, but he was required to pull off a really remarkable performance to defend his position, that was far from granted to him. And as these cars are very consistent, and drivers are very much aided by technology and strategy, so it takes less time for a talented youngster to get get close to their prime than previously (definitely not 5-6 years, than before), I don’t think drivers outside from F1 for one or two years would be a better stand in than him. I think it’s just enough consistency what he had shown in qualifications, considerable sample, and a very good record, while Williams’s race pace is really this bad. Of course we don’t have access to telemetry and everyday gossips amongst team bosses, so it’s hard to accurately evaluate him, and the reasons why he not signed to a much better team yet. But there are many examples of unfair events at F1 as good seats are quite scarce resources.

  42. Is it possible Mercedes might need to run only 1 car this weekend? I imagine Lewis’ side of the garage would have to self isolate as a precaution. Although I suppose they could fly in another team…? Then again I could be wrong and only the driver needs replacing!

  43. Funny you should name the CDC, t3x

    This is their data on Covid as well as death rate in general https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm

    Notice the “percent of expected deaths” column? There’s a huge jump during most of this year (numbers from the latest few months are low because not all reports are in, as mentioned in the CDC report “data are generally at least 75% complete within 8 weeks of when the death occurred”).

    This means that the death rate is probably higher that reported.

    I’ve made a spreadsheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VIqtsDXIAc9vALfh8rGMaB7i8kFPbrtWYpXf4NZbKyQ/edit?usp=sharing

    It skips the last 8 weeks (as of when this comment was posted) as well as the weeks until Covid took hold in the US.

    Reported Covid deaths in that timeframe: ~208,000. Excess deaths in same timeframe: 387,733

    Some of those deaths are of course down to other illnesses that cannot be treated because of health system breakdown. But that’s the thing: It’s still because of Covid-19 and people that decided that quarantine and lockdown didn’t matter… That this whole thing was overblown.

    Reported 2018 flu season deaths: 34,200. But hey, just a flu.

    Corrections are of course welcome.

  44. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    1st December 2020, 10:47

    So LH does not get to set the record for the possibly the quickest lap time in F1.

    1. I believe Lewis has his sights set on Trump’s record of fastest ever Covid19 recovery :)

  45. Well then with Lewis out this title fight will be wide… oh wait.

    Now I am sorry he got ill, but then again, he is young and fit, so not to sorry.

    As for the sport, Bottas can now wipe the floor with some replacement driver and finish P2 just behind Verstappen?

    What happens if Hulkenberg bests Bottas? Or will they get a slower replacement driver? Can they Poach George from Williams for a run? That would be amazing.

  46. I would imagine it needs to be someone of colour to replace Lewis, or a woman. Equality and all that.
    Is there any women with the necessary credentials (points) to step into an F1 car? What’s Suzie doing these days? I recall a lady named Chadwick I think. She seems to go ok. Guaranteed podium and great publicity.
    It will be interesting to see who Toto picks.

    1. Thank you for illustrating there is still a lot of work to do. As folk who think (not sure ‘think’ is an apt description) like you still exist as a significant minority

  47. Wishing Lewis and anyone else affected by this well.

    But this is quite intriguing, particularly for Bottas who probably feels ambivalent about this.

    Hopefully he will get to prove himself against whoever the replacement driver is.

    But if Lewis was to miss the last two GPs it will somehow makes Wolff’s comments about Bottas being unfortunate this season redundant.
    Bottas can of course reduce the points deficit but his dnf deficit excuse could also be reduced or wiped out.

    Whilst probably annoying for Hamilton being unable to add to his record breaking run, it makes his wdc look more impressive in that he will have one maybe two fewer races to collect points.

  48. Get well soon Lewis.

  49. It will be Vandoorne. Mercedes win / win. Give Bottas a couple of easy victories and keep the Lewis aura alive. Last thing anyone needs is a new driver coming in and finishing on the podium in that car.

    1. :))) Looks like the most probable scenario.

      Unfortunately :(((

  50. What a weird time to get it.
    Wouldn’t be surprised if this had some sort of knock on effect with others having caught it from him.
    Wishing him a quick recovery!

  51. Obviously the F1 community isn’t taking COVID seriously. They need to listen to the experts. There have now been more than a few crew and drivers testing positive. Time to lock-it-down and cancels the last races. Why are they putting profit ahead of lives? Am I getting the hang of this?

  52. What if the COVID-19 pandemic never happened?

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