Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Hamilton faces obstacles to Abu Dhabi return even if he tests negative for Covid

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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One week on from his positive test for Covid-19, Lewis Hamilton is waiting to discover whether he will test negative for the virus in time to return to racing at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

The world champion missed the Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for the virus last Monday. George Russell took his place, but Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed Hamilton will return to his car this weekend if he tests negative in time.

“If Lewis recovers – and he’s getting better every day – and he’s being considered Covid-free, negative, then he will be in the car,” said Wolff yesterday.

In order to be allowed to race drivers must first participate in at least one of the four pre-race sessions – three practice sessions plus ‘qualifying practice’. Nico Hulkenberg substituted for Lance Stroll at the Eifel Grand Prix having only taken part in qualifying prior to the race.

That situation could be repeated for Hamilton this weekend, depending on whether he tests negative for Covid-19 and how late the result is determined.

“As long as the driver participates in a practice session or qualifying, they’re permitted to race,” FIA F1 race director Michael Masi confirmed. “So technically, here and now, a driver only has to fulfil one of those criteria.

“They couldn’t just turn up and race as their only thing, they would have to do one of the practice sessions, be it free practice or qualifying practice beforehand.”

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The latest Hamilton could return to his car and be able to take part in the race is therefore 5pm on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, the starting time for qualifying.

Hamilton has been in isolation since his positive test. If he is able to test negative, Hamilton will have to travel to Abu Dhabi while observing the pandemic restrictions governing Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. This presents further obstacles.

“The main part with all of this has always been complying with the respective governments’ laws and regulations,” said Masi. “So it’s very much a decision for a the Bahraini health authorities to determine if Lewis is fit and complies with their regulations and then further for the Abu Dhabi authorities to determine their criteria. So it’s effectively two government entities that determine entry criteria.”

On arrival in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton will have to complete a 24-hour period of isolation after landing, before he can enter the paddock.

“If he meets the entry criterias of the respective governments and then further complies with the testing protocol from an FIA perspective – to test negative prior to entering the paddock – then there’s no problems from our perspective,” Masi added.

Wolff said Russell will drive for the team again if Hamilton is not able to return to race for them. If Hamilton does return mid-weekend, that could prompt a reshuffling of the seats which changed around in his absence, with Russell heading back to Williams in place of Jack Aitken.

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123 comments on “Hamilton faces obstacles to Abu Dhabi return even if he tests negative for Covid”

  1. I was wondering about Lewis health progress. Didn’t he said he got mild symptoms? What kind of symptoms? How is he now? Where did he got infected? Was he breached any protocols?

    1. Same here. He’s been silent this weekend hasn’t he? And regarding how he got infected, it’s funny how everyone in the media kept trying to find the cause of Perez’s positive but they respect Hamilton situation silently.

      1. Slightly different no? Perez travelled to Mexico, Hamilton was in Bahrain the whole time.

        1. So of even more interest.

        2. No – he met his fsmily in Dubai!

          1. Woot. I never seen any news about that.

        3. They said it happened in UAE (when he was surrounded by people). That’s not Bahrain.

        4. Sky did a piece on how the season has managed to go ahead and Otmar revealed that they now believe Checo got covid from the private chef he employed so he could avoid exposure of being in restaurants.

      2. Part of that is down to the novelty factor – Perez was the first prominent person in the paddock to get infected and so that was quite a bit of a shock. Not so much right now (not that anyone should be letting their guard down).

        1. Indeed.
          And also back then there were few infections and most countries in Europe were relying on contact tracing. Now in the second/third wave contact tracing has so but stopped as it is almost impossible with the current amount of infections.

      3. Perez was tested positive on coronavirus, but he didn’t have COVID. Hamilton does have COVID. So very unlikely he will recover in less than 2 weeks, unless they fake tests. And after COVID it should be at least 3 negative results over a course of some time. So very unlikely to see him in Abu Dhabi.

        1. PCR COVID-19 (disease) testing is typically by checking for the SARS-CoV-2 (virus) in nasal/throat swabs. No difference there.

          Patients are typically no longer infectious 10 days after first symptoms (first 4 days most infectious).
          Best practice is 2 negative tests to declare a patient recovered. But most countries rely simply on the 10 (or 14) day time-span from onset of symptoms or positive test. I’m not sure if the F1bubble still requires 2 negative tests after a positive (used to be like that).

          No, PCR test do NOT have a 40% false negative rate!!

          1. Having tested positive on virus doesn’t mean having pneumonia. Most people having the virus without evolved pneumonia. I.e. asymptomatic patients. Typically relates to asymptomatic pentients.

            And yes, up to 40% of false negative in some scenarios, as heavily depends on quality of swabs.

      4. At least 3. It’s never done with 1 test, as 40% of negative results are false negative.

      5. John Ballantyne
        8th December 2020, 9:46

        I haven’t heard if he has sent a congratulatory message to George Russell, can someone remind him? He could do with an image lift.

    2. I’m pretty sure It was reported when the news came about that he had been in contact with (I think) a team member who had tested positive so Lewis then had to be tested an so on..

  2. Well, i do hope Hamilton recovers and gets well. Even though I would really like to see Russel get a chance to make up for the heartbreak on Sunday.

    Surely neither Bahrain nor Abu Dhabi would seriously consider blocking Hamilton from getting to Abu Dhabi on time (provided he does test negative first off course). But it does provide an extra complication to talk about and think about.

    1. Same thoughts. I hope lewis is well and recovers well too. But at the same time I really really want to see russell in the car. The guy deserves a win and I’d also want to see his progress. It was his first race in the merc and even if he has done practice runs in the car I’d like to see if he can improve and clear bottas. It would be pretty cruel if russell would not get his win and then has to go back to the williams to suffer yet another year.

      1. Same here.
        Recovered Lewis and Russell to have another go.

        Maybe Lewis can get the Williams seat to show what he can do in that car.

        1. That makes no sense. Why would he go to Williams? He has proven himself YOY.

    2. Coventry Climax
      7th December 2020, 18:23

      Actually, I would like to see someone else in that Merc, for the next race.
      Probably, then, Bottas will win and we get to see how exceptionally well George actually did.
      Hopefully that also shuts up the low IQ people that keep shouting that anyone can win in that car.
      But it’ll be either Lewis or George, I suppose, so one last try from my side: If the car really were the one and only reason, than anyone in a RB can finish second all the time?

      1. You won’t be satisfied, if they bring someone else and that person, wins, then what? Put another someone else to if the prior 2 were not just exceptionally talented?

    3. Agree. Hope Lewis recovers soon and stays healthy. Although.. as bizarre as it sounds.. it would be great for the sport if he were to miss the last race of the season and George had a second chance in that Mercedes this season.

      1. Bottas may not be comfortable with that scenario. Imagine the gossip if Russell outperforms Bottas this weekend!

  3. I can’t see Russell in the car on Friday just to be replaced by Lewis on Saturday. Also it would be harsh on George and Jack.

    1. @chrisgalaz That would be the worst possible situation. I don’t even know if you are allowed to move between teams during a race weekend, just imagine all the paperwork!

      If Lewis can’t get in the car until Saturday then Toto will have a decision. Notwithstanding the point i made above, would be unfair on Russell to do FP1/FP2 in one car and then race in another.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        7th December 2020, 11:18

        That’s a good point – anyone know what the regs say? I’d be surprised if you could swap teams… Otherwise Red Bull could give each driver 1 practice session in the Red Bull and then pick the fastest for quali!

        1. @petebaldwin I’m pretty sure Red Bull would have exploited this already if it was legal. I didn’t think of that.

          Even if the regs are silent on it, I can imagine RBR plus others asking the stewards for an opinion creating further uncertainty and risk of sporting punishments (MB won’t care about a financial penalty but grid drops and/or time penalties are a different matter).

      2. @chimaera2003 My understanding is that you can change what is on the entry list (which is set on Monday evening, so too early to know if COVID protocols will be passed) only if exceptional circumstances can be proven, and that changing team isn’t treated differently to the more straightforward “pick a driver who isn’t already assigned a team for the weekend” (assuming contracts allow it, which is clearly the case here). I’m not sure an anticipated mid-weekend changeover would count (so Mercedes and Williams couldn’t plan to have George in on Friday and Lewis on Saturday/Sunday). On the other hand, medical absences have typically been classed as “exceptional circumstances”. So if Lewis got an “inconsistent” test on Friday morning, George could substitute in that situation until Lewis got a negative test later.

        The punishment meted out (at least in theory) is that the swap is not approved and someone else has to be selected as the replacement driver.

    2. Surely Mercedes are sitting pretty no matter who drives their car? Russell proved this beyond any dispute. The driver’s name is but a formality, and so is the race outcome. Unless the Mercedes garage fall victim to another attack of desperate un-professionalism.

    3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      7th December 2020, 16:30

      @chrisgalaz In that scenario, Vandoorne would do the set up work on Lewis’s car on Friday with Lewis jumping in for P3 on Saturday. George would have a full weekend at Williams. It’s also likely Abu Dhabi would make a travel exception for Lewis. I really wish George can get a second race but its looking more unlikely now.

  4. I really hope Russell is in the Mercedes again next weekend. If it is Hamilton he will again such the competition out of the race and run away at the front. If it is Russel it gives us excitement and him a consolation for the cruel fate on Sunday. He really was cheated of a win twice in one race but still battled on.

    All the great drivers have the same mantra: never give up, you never know what will happen.

  5. A good opportunity to use Will Smith :D

    1. LMAOOOO this is the only way Ferrari and Red Bull can beat Mercedes. However, they still need to go through Bottas whahahah

  6. Sorry to be blunt…but does anyone actually want him back for AD?

    1. He is WDC. Nothing to win for now.
      Russell did a great job.
      So actually : No

      Let him close this season resting. He deserves it ( and so does Russell)

    2. Yes they do. You might not but some people do. 1) because it will mean Lewis is well 2) because he is the reigning WDC. The reigning wdc should always be on the grid if possible.
      As a Brit I’m a little torn personally but George will get his chance regardless of if he drives a Merc at Abu Dahbi. A Lewis win is always an enjoyable winsome want to see him back before the long break.

      1. yes i want to see him back racing in AD

    3. @joshgeake Yes. I want Lewis to be well, happy and racing as usual. I enjoyed George’s cameo, but am willing to be patient and let him next race for Mercedes after he’s finished his Williams contract.

    4. That’s interesting. To not want the WDC entered in the race. In any other sport why would anyone not want the best player involved? Interesting and weird! I want to see him back. I love watching Horner cringe.

  7. I really think switching bottas and russell would be actually a good solution for both williams and mercedes. Merc gets their upcoming talent into their top team after the said driver has now proven he can do it. For williams it is a win situation as well. After all williams is going to lose russell at the end of next year no matter what. And when russell leaves then there also goes the cheap mercedes engine deal. Williams is looking at big performance drop when they have to replace russell with a rookie and at the same time their engine costs are getting higher at the dawn of the new tech regulation era.

    By allowing a switch of bottas and russell williams could keep their engine deal in place maybe a year longer at least. Or how long they can negotiate it. Bottas is also a decent driver and while not the caliber of hamilton or russell he is still as likely to score points in the williams when the situtation arises (read: cars ahead don’t finish). There are quite a few drivers on the grid that are not as good as bottas. Bottas is also likely to stay at williams for a long time which gives williams a good driver for long time. And bottas knows the team.

    And of course it works out for mercedes too. They get their young talent into their top team where they can get the best years out of russell if they choose to keep him. They’ll get him relatively cheaply too because russell would surely trade in his mother too just to drive their car instead of the pile of trash that has the williams stickers on it.

    Only issue (but a huge one) here is bottas’ contract. Chances are bottas does not need to agree to move the williams. If bottas can not be forced to go to williams then williams won’t release russell either. Which means it is a deadlock situation and nothing changes.

    I’m 100% sure the top wigs are merc are going though bottas’ contract with electron microscope to see if there is any way to make the trade happen (yay silly season!). I know I would. And if I was williams I’d be very glad to have to spend less money on engines.

    1. Steve Mitchell
      7th December 2020, 11:48

      One thing has been proven over the last few years, that “sports contracts” are not worth the paper they are written on. There are always clauses written in somewhere so that either party can weasel out of it.

      Bottas will of course dig in all his claws to stay at Merc for 1 more year…..but I hope so much to see Lewis and George racing side by side in identical cars next year.

      Then if Redbull, Mclaren and Ferrari can close the gap and be more competitive up front just imagine 2021….
      Lewis and George
      Max and Checo (hopefully)
      Lando and Danny
      Charles and Carlos
      …..and of course Alonso too in the Renault too if both get up to speed!

      What a year 2021 could be!

      1. The driver contracts tend to be written in such way that they don’t guarantee a seat but they do guarantee financial compensation if no seat is provided. That’s how prost and kimi were able to sit out a full season whilst being paid.

        1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          7th December 2020, 16:39

          @socksolid Couple of things. That is not how Toto operates. If the contract is signed then he will honour it. He has already stated that he has loyalty for his current drivers. Bottas will not be ousted. One of the things that makes Mercedes F1 so successful is how they operate internally with transparency and honesty. Cutting Bottas loose before his contract is up would fly in the face of that. Secondly, it appears as though Perez is negotiating with Williams for a 2022 drive which makes it even more likely Russell will switch to Merc in 2022. If that is indeed true, it leaves Bottas high and dry as Williams will not kick Lattifi out for a non pay driver like Bottas.
          2022 does hinge on what Lewis does but it is highly likely he will negotiate a two, maybe even a three year deal for 2021, 22 and possibly 2023 as he has stated he wants to drive the 2022 cars. That would be George and Lewis at Merc with Bottas looking for a seat without the financial backing of Perez. Not a good look for Bottas.

          1. @davewillisporter Whether or not not toto operates in this or that way.. it is not even his call in the end. It is merc’s money and their decision. In the end toto has to look at the results and the reality and if that means rocking the boat and going against his principles (as much as anyone in f1 has those) he’ll do as told.

            You also talk about the way toto operates yet you conveniently forgot that before russell it was ocon who was supposed to get that merc drive. Instead ocon got a sabbatical. If russell gets a sabbatical he won’t be coming back to mercedes. Toto will likely just give him away to get the next young driver to throw into the mercedes young driver grinder. Couple of seasons at williams, then a year off and then free as a bird. Soon we could have quarter of the field full of mercedes rejects.

            As for perez negotiating with williams for 2022 doesn’t mean anything for russell moving to merc. We already had news that russell could be out of f1 already after this season if williams decides so. Maybe out permanently.

            If the bottas-russell move goes to the end of next year we are once again in the situation where the big wigs at merc look at russell’s results in the williams and compare those against bottas in the merc. Once again it’ll be difficult and no matter how well russell drives in abu dhabi his results at that point will be a distant memory. All we see is likely another pointless season at williams.

        2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          7th December 2020, 17:20

          @socksolid You don’t seem to be familiar with the fact that Toto owns 30% of the team and is team principle and CEO. That makes it his decision and his decision alone. The parent company Daimler CEO does not get involved as it would undermine Toto’s position as a part owner, team boss and CEO (CEO controls the business side including money) again going against the ethos of this team.
          Toto arranged for a seat at Renault for Ocon after Stroll took over Racing Point and pushed Lance into Ocon’s seat. Toto was absolutely livid with Renault when they went back on the deal with Ocon. That’s why Ocon took a sabbatical. It wasn’t Toto’s fault and he certainly wouldn’t do the same to Bottas. It’s pie in the sky thinking. Bottas will drive with Lewis in 2021, Russell will drive with Lewis in 2022.
          (Oh, and the Williams rumours earlier in the season regarding Russell possibly losing his seat to Perez? They were correct but about 2022 not 2021 and started probably by Perez management to put pressure on Redbull to make a decision)

          1. Toto owns 30%. That is not a majority. As for ocon toto allegedly had a spoken contract with renault to take ocon. Which is not professional and also a bit naive. Not to mention toto and ocon were also waiting later hoping to get better deals. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. As for russell’s 2020 season being his last at williams was definitely a possibility. For williams it was just a financial matter and all I can imagine is that wiliams did the calculations and chose the one with more zeros.

            Bottas has had three abysmal races now. Russell came in and was instantly strong. If merc can make it happen that russell drives for merc already in next year they’ll take it. But it is not about what mercedes or toto wants. It is what williams want because they hold the best cards. They have russell and they have his contract. But like all contracts in f1 it is all about money. Everybody wants more of it and if you want to change a contract you pay for it which means you’ll have less money. Bad thing. Bottas knows this, russell knows this and williams and merc knows it. Toto knows it. And none of them are trying to do the feel good decision. In the end all that matters is the financials that decide the outcome. Not feels or team ethos.

      2. Legally (at least in the EU), it has to be possible for employment contracts to be broken (though reasonable conditions, such as appropriate levels of compensation, can be imposed as conditions). The CRB is primarily there to ensure those conditions are met.

  8. One person really hoping Hamilton gets back would be Bottas. Being beaten by Hamilton is not one thing. But being beaten by the man who is going to take your place is another.

  9. If he’s a last minute pass on the covid front, why not complete the back-to-back comparison and have Lewis drive the Williams in Abu Dhabi?

    Double the fun!

    1. Yes, yes, yes, yes!

      Please Santa, this is what I want for Xmas

    2. Ooh, imagine THAT!

    3. @frasier If Russell struggles to fit into Hamilton’s car, presumably the opposite would be true were Lewis to take the Williams drive … he wouldn’t be able to reach the pedals.

      1. And by extension, the points!

  10. He’ll be very eager to get back before Russell proves again that actually dominating a race in such a superior car isn’t so hard after all, and Bottas is just as hopeless as many of us suspected. Say what you like, but this weekend really did tarnish Hamilton’s achievements. Still very impressive obviously, but… he’s not the only one who could have won all those championships. Not by a long shot.

    1. True. Bottas is clearly at Webber level, making it all too easy for the other

    2. Lewis is the best driver in the best car – it’s not his fault he makes it look so easy.

      1. @joshgeake Well, he’s better than his teammate certainly.

    3. Indeed, all this talk by him that we need to give “Bottas more credit” than he (Bottas) is currently getting is really an attempt by Ham to inflate his own achievements. We saw yesterday Russell is as aggressive, easily passed Bottas on older tires but Perez and Ocon’s hards were 2 laps older than Bottas’ own hards. He passed a further 2 cars and was hunting down Perez, had we not been denied an exiting finish I suspect Russell could have overtaken Perez and it will all look so spectacular but was that really Russell brilliance or was it a far superior car. I say a far superior car.

      Why is Russell not doing this at Williams, and why was Ham not doing this before 2014? I bet in their heart of hearts Ham fans and Ham himself hoped Russell would not do so well. If anything this shows it has been the Mercedes car all along.

      I do think Bottas the wheels off his car to avoid embarrassment. Even that was not enough to compete. Max was right any driver will instantly start winning in the Mercedes and its all too easy for Hamilton at the moment.

      1. Why wasn’t he doing this before 2014?

        1)On the podium for the first 9 races in his maiden year
        2)Beat 2-time consecutive WDC in his maiden year
        3)Lost by a single point in his maiden year
        4)Won WDC in his second year (also by a point)
        5)Has won a race in every season he has been in and actually was in contention for the WDC with McLaren but strategy screwed him and Button
        6) Beat Nico in 2013
        DAMN he was sleeping until 2014

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        7th December 2020, 16:54

        Russell is doing it at Williams. That car does not belong 12th or 14th on the grid. In race trim the Williams just can’t overtake worth anything so where Russell starts is all he can do. Lewis has also been doing this before 2014. He had 30 odd race wins including some absolute masterclasses and quite often not with the fastest car. Missed the WDC by one point in his rookie year against a 2xWDC in the other car and won it in his second against a slightly faster overall Ferrari, or did you miss the first 6 years of his F1 career from 2007 to 2012?
        “The car” allows both drivers to do what they always do for the lead of the race as opposed to for 3rd 4th or 19th 20th. What “the car” does not do is provide talent to those who aren’t right up there with the best which is why both George and Lewis have the measure of Bottas. Good driver, not the best.
        What “the car” also does not do is give a driver an advantage over the other identical car. With Lewis and George in the same car in 2022 you will see much closer racing but if other teams lag behind as they do now, Lewis would win that title too because “the car” doesn’t win the WDC 7 times. The driver in it does and experience and consistency in fighting for titles matter. It’s not programmed into “the car”!

        1. Save your breath Hamilton haters ingnore the mass of evidence of both his raw talent and the way he has developed over the years, they are only interested in cherry picking the evidence to support their claim that he’s mediocre or worse. Most of them have little idea of F1 history or indeed what it takes to score podiums consistently in both a top car and a midfield car

    4. Russell still didn’t win though, did he?

      You have to work really hard to “tarnish” seven WDCs and nearly 100 race wins. Really hard.

      1. @scbriml Of course he didn’t win, but he would have if the team hadn’t messed up.

        1. I think the point is that he didn’t win, but if you add together all the races Hamilton could nearly have won, he’d be on 200 or so wins and 10 championships or something ridiculous like that.

          Every driver has had to deal with bad luck, or less than optimal luck, including Schumacher and Hamilton. So people who think Hamilton is lucky to have won 95 races and 7 championships are discounting the bad luck that he has experienced.

          1. Hamilton basically lost the 2007 and 2016 WDC because of bad luck (granted, Raikkonen and Rosberg were worthy winners, but who knows what would have happened if not for China in 07 and Malaysia in 16)

          2. @fw11b

            He lost the 2012 title due to poor reliability as well. He could have had 10 titles.. but then gain.. if we were to play that game Alonso could have had 5 titles as well added (2007, 2010, 2012). Schumacher could have had 8 if he didn’t get injured in 1999.

        2. Merc didn’t burst his rear tyres. He did that by himself when he was on to catch and pass Perez.
          I cant speak for all Lewis fans but I have zero concerns with Lewis bring beating beaten by anyone on the grid over the course of a season. He will be beaten in a few races but Lewis is just relentless. Pressure is his friend and he has learned to trim a bit of pace to play the long game. On to George… he is every bit as good as Verstappen! Some laughed at George before this weekend… let’s see who is laughing in 3-4 years because George will be a WDC before Max AND Charles.

          1. @deanr if you think Russell ‘burst his own tyres’ then there’s no point debating with you as you clearly don’t have a clue about F1.

          2. Yes, bravo sir 👏 I know nothing about F1 👍

          3. Lewis Hamilton is a great driver, and has been so quite consistently over the years, and even with the great advantage of his car I think he got better.
            But it is entirely possible that George comes into the other Merc and beats Lewis in 2022 or 2023. I don’t think that would take away from Lewis’ achievements if it happened.
            It is also possible that George beats Lewis but never reaches his records.

    5. People seem to ignore that Russel is just an incredible talent!
      A talent if given the car will do the job as he now has shown.

      People should review Russel’s career before F1, it’s pretty impressive!

      1. @solidg Oh I agree that Russell is very good, I just think the fact he performed the way he did indicates there are several drivers who could have done what Hamilton has, given the machinery and Bottas as a teammate.

        1. Yea, I feel the same way about Max, only more so. Bigger gap behind the RBs than the Mercs enjoy, and a team mate 3 grades below that of Bottas.

          1. @ian dearing
            Lol, the most successful teamboss in the history of F1 disagrees with you:
            Toto Wolff “Verstappen gets more out of the car than is possible”.
            (Translates: He is driving a horrible brick, Newey’s worst car ever, to the podium week in week out)

            Hmmm, maybe that explains why he is raking in the millions and you’re posting ill informed comments on free websites 😂😂😂

          2. @ian. dearing
            You can put a clown in the Mercedes and he will finish second in your average race (see Bottas).
            You can put a decent driver in a Red Bull and he will finish somewhere between 6 and 13 in your average race (see Gasly/Albon)

          3. Albon is not a decent driver…

        2. But ONLY if Lewis wasnt driving the other car!

    6. I’m sorry but I disagree, I don’t think this weekend hurt Hamilton any one bit. It’s obvious that if you put a strong driver in a strong driver he will perform well and maybe (huge maybe) Russell would give Hamilton a tougher time, but to say this weekend tarnishes his 95 wins and six WDC is a huge stretch.

      If anything, this weekend probably enhances Lewis’ stature, because it showed (I) the quality of the car can only get you so far, you still need to be great as Lewis is and Russell may one day become; and (II) Hamilton is such in tune with his car and confident that possibly Mercedes would not have called him in to pit or would have waited a little longer. This last part is a critique of Russell, who was robbed of a win just because he trusted his team, but rather a vindication of all those time Lewis’ argued with Bono about when to pit..

      1. Not to mention driving the car Hamilton helped develop. Lets see what happens to the team when Hamilton leaves.

      2. seven WDC*

      3. not a critique of Russell*

      4. Oh dear.

        No one is debating whether Russell is a talent, but it’s clear if you can jump in that car and lead most of the race on your first weekend, the 6 titles Lewis has won with Mercedes need to be viewed in a different context.

        Hamilton has beaten Bottas. That’s all.

        1. I’m sorry but doesn’t make sense.. how can one race change how six titles are viewed? Did Hamilton have to run only one race in order to win six titles? Did Bernie invent some special “six titles in one race” I never heard of?

          It’s fair enough if you don’t think Hamilton is the greatest ever, or that his success is somewhat inflated by the circumstances. But to devalue his achievements because of one race, held in a novel layout that favored some cars over others and with little data, in which his (very talented) substitute drove well but didn’t even win (it’s wasn’t fault, I know), that’s as stretch.

          1. As someone who definitely might seem against hamilton on this website, I don’t think some of us, at least not me, are saying he’s a terrible driver, I’m sure he’s one of the best 4 of the current grid, as in russel, leclerc, verstappen and his enormous experience probably puts him ahead if you remember leclerc’s and verstappen’s occasional mistakes to this day, or even russel’s at williams, however it’s also easier to avoid making mistakes when you have the best car and don’t have to push as much, see russel this weekend, based on his williams mistakes I wouldn’t have bet on his race win, but as far as he could do in the race he’d have won.

            What I’m saying is that drivers of that calibre, those 4 in the current grid, schumacher, fangio, ascari, clark, alonso would’ve done the same or more in the same circumstances, not everyone gets the chance to start f1 in a championship winning car, some drivers have to work their way from the back (minardi), and then again some drivers hardly ever drove the best car of the year, like alonso, instead of doing so for most of their career.

            Based on this I wouldn’t put hamilton higher than a top 7-10 driver of all times.

    7. Nice offhanded disrespected comment. Similar to “I’m sorry if I offended you”. I wonder if Schumi had similar dislike for him winning?

  11. Testing negative and recovering are not the same. I can’t imagine he’ll be ready to drive an F1 car this weekend. Russell should drive the Merc this weekend.

    1. Considering 80-90% of people that have been testing positive show no symptoms at all, (these are based on official statistics) and many that do its nothing more than a cold, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t completely well and ready to drive.

    2. Shouldn’t Lewis be the judge of that? Assuming he tests negative of course.

  12. Are finnish people immune to Covid? Asking for a friend.

    1. @david-beau Sadly not (I have a Finnish penpal; they are taking precautions, some backed by law, and despite this some Finns have still died). Hopefully Bottas and Raikkonen have been and continue to be careful enough to avoid getting the virus.

    2. Serious question: Are “Pen pals” still a thing?

  13. Massive hamilton fanboy here.

    I’d love to see him in the car this weekend but it seems too soon. Rest up and get well, an 8th WDC beckons.

  14. I say give another weekend to Russell. Its not as if missing a race for Hamilton is that costly for him in the long term. A driver like Bottas even if he wins the race wont be able to gather momentum for a serious challenge for next year.

    1. That would not be Mercedes choice to make if Hamilton is declared fit, he is contracted to race after all. I would like to see Russel get another shot though.

      1. Correct! This is Lewis decision to make if a negative test is forthcoming. Not “F1 Fans”.

    2. Most sensible post here to date. Sure Lewis wants to be in the car asap, but an unfit/out of sorts driver does nobody any favours. If Bottas won, calls would be “It was only because Lewis wasn’t 100%”, if Lewis wins it would be more “It’s only because of the car”. I’m LH44 supporter but Lewis has had 7/8 years of input into that car, it fits him like a glove and that is what has elevated him to 7 WDC’s. Yes it is a dominant machine, but name me ANY WDC who has won because he had the second best car, and who wouldn’t have preferred to be racing in the best.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        7th December 2020, 17:05

        Lewis Hamilton 2008 WDC. Very close but the Ferrari had the edge over the McLaren that year.

  15. I pray for Hamilton’s swift recovery and hope he has a Covid19 negative test on Thursday, so he could be in Abu Dhabi on Friday and take part in Qualifying on Saturday.

  16. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    7th December 2020, 13:56

    It’ll be a huge shame not to have Lewis finish the 2020 season. This has been a tremendously uncertain year with Lewis fighting for a 7th championship while also fighting for more important social issues.

    He deserves to be there. Just as Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Santa, F1 wouldn’t be the same without Lewis.

    As we all witnessed yesterday, Mercedes wouldn’t be the same with Lewis and certainly without Wolff. They deserve to finish this season on a note that’s representative of the team’s excellence. Many critics may suggest that they are tired of Mercedes’ domination but isn’t the word domination just a synonym for the relentless pursuit of excellence and the ability to sustain that for long periods of time?

    1. Surely COTD/W/M/Y right here!
      “Just as Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Santa, F1 wouldn’t be the same without Lewis.” Have a “GET IN” from me 🇬🇧

    2. Well stated!

  17. I hope Lewis is okay, but Russell deserves a chance at redemption after the heartbreak yesterday.

  18. I see the comments above about it “wouldn’t be fair to replace Russell on Saturday”. Not being cold hearted, but teams are in a business. The best thing for Mercedes would be to have Hamilton in the car for the race. If he is able to participate, I expect Mercedes to put him in the car. Not “nice” for Russell, but it is Hamilton’s seat.

    1. 👏👏👏

    2. I’m not so sure. I would like to see him race for selfish reasons but covid is a serious virus that takes a while to back to 100% fitness and it appears Lewis has had a bad case. Even if the result comes back negative the physical impact on his body could still be fairly severe. I’m torn on this one

  19. I’m a Hamilton fan but I am not for the idea of rushing him back into the car. This virus still has so many unknown variables, here in Britain some people where getting false negatives and I experienced it first hand with my mother in law. She had all the symptoms, tested negative. Ordered the NHS kit and re tested a few days later and it was a positive. Least we forget, driving an F1 car is a bruising experience. Will Hamilton be “race fit” to complete a gruelling weekend, with limited training etc? I think Toto and Lewis should just be prudent on this one and make the sensible decision. Last thing anyone wants is Hamilton rushing back and things going awfully wrong, or even infecting others in the paddock.

    On a lighter note- I think we need to see Russell vs Bottas 2 at a more representative track where Russell has had more time to prepare and get more answers on how he stacks up against Bottas.

    1. @blazzz Lewis, I think, has to pass 3 tests to get into the paddock: one before he’s allowed to leave Bahrain (technically he could wait out the 10 days but I don’t think he’d have time to complete the other steps before FP1, which he will surely aim to do), one on arrival in Abu Dhabi (everyone has to do this) and another one before entering the paddock (as all returning F1 people must do).

  20. It can take months to test negative

  21. Given Hamilton’s age and inherent level of health it’s obviously about preventing the spread rather than any realistic risk to his own health

    As such I feel comfortable saying I hope he doesn’t return yet. Championships are wrapped up, can no longer set the record for wins in a season. So other than adding to his win tally and keeping his eye in there’s no benefit to him racing

    Russell however can gain championship positions and prove last week wasn’t a fluke. I think most of us would rather see him in the car again

    1. @philipgb Young, healthy people have had complications (some have died) from COVID-19, although Lewis’ youth, age, lack of competing pressures (no expectation to try socially-distance running of a household while quarantined, for example) and access to top-notch medical assistance over a long period will all help his recovery.

      Both spread avoidance and potential risk to Lewis’ own health are factors – as are meeting various countries’ requirements to follow good COVID protocols and being seen to do the right thing (both helpful for continuing to get permission to host F1 events through a pandemic).

  22. Ted K said that Lewis would have to have 5 days of negative tests before being allowed to leave the country so he would have to test negative tomorrow Tuesday latest in order to travel on Saturday.

  23. F1 & fans need a break from Lewis. Sit this one out mate.

    1. Nope. Most F1 enthusiasts want the World Champion back on the podium, where he belongs.

  24. Hamilton vs Russell would be a tantilising match up this weekend. No point persevering with Bottas. No putting the toothpaste back in the tube now. Mercedes would look like fools and only diminish Hamilton’s championship in 2021 by putting Bottas in the number two car.

    It’s proven that Bottas is worse than a 22 year old with 4 hours in the car, barely able to fit in the cockpit, wearing shoes a size to small, pedals in the wrong positions, not knowing the cars characteristics and limit.

    You can’t have Bottas back in a two horse championship between either side of the garage. In the hold days Bernie would be in there figuring out a way to get another team to take on part of Bottas’s salary while also putting his hand in his pocket.

    1. Mercedes would look like fools for their driver choice? Are you talking about the team that has completely mastered this era and swept all the titles for 7 years? The only thing that makes them look like fools is the occasional pitstop or strategy blunder like last race’s. I’m sure all the other teams wouldn’t mind being seen as fools if that came with winning 3/4 of the races.

  25. It’s not the car, so LH can win the Abu Dabhi GP, and for good measure lap everyone else twice in a Williams, even if the size doesn’t fit and he has never driven it before. So get him to drive Russell’s Williams and give Russell another try in the Merc.

  26. Come on, Lewis. Get back to racing in Abu Dhabi. You need a contract for 2021.
    Your seat is in danger, your GOAT aura is fading. It is high chance that Mercedes will walk away again with both championships in 2021 maybe without you, but with Russel and Bottas behind the wheel.

  27. How can anyone expect Hamilton to test negative when his first positive test was a week ago and he is not asymptomatic.

    One study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in August found that on average, it took asymptomatic people 17 days after diagnosis to test negative, while it took symptomatic people 19 to 20 days.

    On the other hand, the thought of Hamilton driving the Williams and demonstrating how much faster he can make it go than any other driver makes me wish I lived in that parallel universe where it is going to happen! ;)

  28. Those glasses, we get those for free or maybe 1 euro when visiting a 3D movie in the cinemas :-)

  29. Good thing he is getting fine.

    What else was fine? F1 without him. We got to know George in a good car, a team and driver got a win, race was excellent.

    This is why we need Lewis to rest a bit more, no need for him to exert himself right now.

    1. Until Mercedes put the wrong tyres on Russell’s car, Mercedes were 1-2 out in front with basically a pitstop in hand.

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