Hamilton says he’s “feeling great” and begins training as he aims for Abu Dhabi return

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says he intends to return to racing at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and has resumed his training programme after testing positive for Covid-19.

However the world champion did not indicate whether he had yet tested negative for the virus.

Hamilton missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after revealing his positive test, which occured on Monday 30th November, and has been isolating in Bahrain since.

He is the third F1 driver to have tested positive for Covid-19 this year, following Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, both of whom had to miss races as a result. Hamilton has been described as having “mild symptoms” of the virus.

Posting to social media for the first time since he announced he would miss the Sakhir Grand Prix, Hamilton said he had returned to training after “one of the hardest weeks” he had experienced.

“I know I’ve not been in touch this past week,” said Hamilton, “it’s definitely been one of the hardest weeks that I’ve had for some time.

“I’ve just been focussing on recovery, trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race the final race in Abu Dhabi. I woke up this morning feeling great and put my first work-out in so I just wanted to send you guys a message of positivity, let you know that I’m okay.”

Hamilton expressed gratitude to his fans for their support. “I thank every single one of you for sending me the amazing messages and videos and I really, really appreciate it.

“I hope that wherever you are you’re staying positive and fighting through whatever you’re facing. I hope that I can get in the car soon and am sending you love.”

Mercedes are yet to confirm whether Hamilton will return for this weekend’s race. George Russell substituted for him last weekend and Mercedes have said he will do so again in Abu Dhabi if Hamilton is unable to return.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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108 comments on “Hamilton says he’s “feeling great” and begins training as he aims for Abu Dhabi return”

  1. In his video message he still looked a bit down on energy as well. Not too sure it’s a good idea to rush to AbuDhabi.

    But then, one just has to look at what Russel endured (chafed knees, bloody hands, bruised shoulders and painfull feet) to get into the best car on the grid. And I am sure that if Grosjean hadn’t feared losing mobility in is hands longer term, he would be driving that Haas regardless of the pain it would cause him on his hands.

    I guess we’ll see whether Hamilton tests negative and gets airlifted to Abu Dhabi in time to race. Or maybe he’ll just attend the race in the garage. Or not at all.

    1. On the video message, his eyes were telling.

    2. Not running and giving Russell a second chance will ruin his contract negotiations.

      1. Remind me again how many F1 races and championships Russell has won…

        1. Irrelevant since Russell won’t demand a +45m USD salary in the middle of a pandemic when Mercedes Benz has been laying people off.

          1. They’ll make a deal one way or another. He will take a pay cut to get that 8th title. It means too much to him, nevermind the fact that 8th title will be worth way more in terms of endorsements.

          2. It’s very relevant. Swap an exciting prospect for the proven, most successful driver ever and miss out on having the worlds first 8 X WDC driving the car? Even at £50m its a fraction of Mercs Advertising budget annually. I know some really want Mercedes to think like fans of F1 but they run themselves as an incredibly successful business, they think of what’s best for Merc and I dont believe swapping out Lewis for George makes any sense in the short to mid term. In the long term, we get into the the realms of driver salary caps so what’s to gain long term by losing Lewis now? We will see what decision they make. Let’s revisit when lewis has signed his new contract. Dont worry though… lewis will retire eventually and ease your suffering 👍

          3. @DeanR Perhaps it’s difficult for you to see, but the F1 fan world is not organized between lovers and haters of Lewis Hamilton. If you don’t think a $50m salary doesn’t stand out in the middle of an economic crisis when people are getting laid off, you clearly have no clue of how corporations operate. F1 is nowhere near being a core business for a global corporation like Mercedes. F1 is a marketing campaign, a big expensive and extremely important one, but primarily marketing.

            I agree there is a compelling case to keep Lewis and there’s probably a 99% chance of that happening, but last week is food for thought. If you can’t see that that’s on you.

          4. But Daimler AG isn’t spending that much money on the team– I think they provide a bit less than 10% of the budget of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

            So it’s not coming out of the stockholder’s funds, it’s not really depriving Daimler of cash, but it is worth literal billions in marketing exposure.

        2. It doesn’t matter how many he’d won. The question is if he would’ve had. One of the Mercedes drivers would, with or without Hamilton, probably every year. It was close once or twice, but not close enough, between them and Ferrari. They don’t really need him that much, but of course he makes things a lot easier than Bottas would for example. Yet I don’t think that Russel is like Bottas, not at all.

          1. You should have stopped at “Yet I don’t think.” You were correct.

        3. Writing is on the wall for Hamilton much like it was for Vettel when Leclerc went to Ferrari and was immediately on the pace.

        4. None because williams is a pale imitation of the team it used to be im the 80s & 90s

      2. @erikje

        You privy to the negotiations or just conjecturing as usual?

        1. Ah, you seem to have missed this is a forum.
          Something new for you?

      3. @@erikje

        Not running and giving Russell a second chance will ruin his contract negotiations.

        Hamilton is a seven (7) time WDC Russell was destined for a Merc seat regardless. His performance only confirmed it, a second race would have no impact on Hamilton’s place in the team or how much he’s paid.

        1. On the Marbles
          9th December 2020, 10:57

          I expect that what will have an impact on what Ham is paid is the pandemic and the general state of the world economy leading to the potential negative advertising for Daimler of paying record breaking big bucks to a single high profile individual. I can see him taking less and perhaps he/merc making some donation to some form of charity in order to deflect that sort of criticism, plus I think Hamilton’s ‘activism’ this year shows he has one eye on his legacy as opposed to his future F1 career so he may feel that negotiating such an arrangement fits with the impact he wants to leave behind. I very much doubt Russell’s performance will have much impact on negotiations, although I’m not sure there is no impact….

        2. for Merc its way more good PR to create a new WDC then pay a lot of money for someone that already proved its worth.
          And for a lot less money they receive more praise. That’s what good PR is all about.

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

    1. @Dave This season’s race schedule would’ve remained how it originally was, maybe some driver changes wouldn’t have happened. The season would’ve ended on the weekend of Bahrain 1, etc.

    2. You must be living under a rock.

      1. Am I misreading it as “That Question Does Not Make Sense”?

  3. I hope he takes the weekend off. There is no reason to rush back. Driving an F1 car is grueling. Returning at less than 100% is an unnecessary risk to himself, his pit crew, the other drivers, and marshalls.

    1. 9stone manlets drive these things. Hardly gruelling

      1. Off you pop into a G-force trainer and try some 4-5g, and thats the easy longitudinal G. Try some lateral at 3-4g. Oh and do this after suffering covid.

        Slim they maybe, but it’s called……oh you know what, you ain’t worth the time

    2. I would if I was him.

    3. Some countries have +2 weeks isolation rule after first negative test with at least 3 negative tests.

      WHO defines at least 10 of isolation + at least 3 days with no symptoms. Meaning he can’t return before sunday. And it also depend on Bahrein and Abu Dhabi regulations. Even if he tests negative he wouldn’t able to leave place of isolation, if Bahrein regulations requires additional period of isolation.

  4. Nice to hear he’s doing well and sounds like it’s just going to be a matter of testing negative.

    1. Nicely put @robbie I too am happy he’s recovering well.

      This is not an illness that anyone should make light of.

    2. lewis don’t be cheap buy a vaccine and be done with it !, you’ll need it to go UK pay taxes anyway …

  5. Seeing the new kid show up and totally own Bottas probably speeded up his recovery 😂😂

    1. Absolutely. It will make it very difficult for him to keep dragging his feet for the negotiation expecting better terms from Mercedes. It’s a bit of a slap to the face for a driver to expect 45-50m in salary when Mercedes itself has had to lay people off. In certain the Mercedes Ben board is mindful of that as well.

      1. Not really. He still has the actual race result to fall back on. I mean… this “rocketship that anyone can win in”, didn’t win without him in it. You can “yeh but, no but, yeh but…” all you want but a Merc did not win on Sunday. That’s quite a bargaining chip for Lewis 😉

        1. @DearR, again that’s an irrelevant point. It’s not as if Lewis could have prevented a communications issue between mechanics. We’ve seen him be the victim of this before in Germany 2019. So the results all year? Yes that’s a bargaining chip. He’s successful career really. But last week’s result is the opposite. Don’t be a fanboy either.

        2. I’m on the Board of an automobile parts company, one that is a large supplier to Daimler. While I am not on the Daimler Board, I can assure you that signing a $40+ million contract for a high profile driver while laying off ten thousand employees, and facing the increasingly difficult regulatory environment and associated investments is very much top of mind for the Board. The publicity could have more downside than up, particularly on internal morale.

          1. Your clearly not on the board of Daimler.

            In general the senior board of a company with a market cap of £60Billion plus would expect such decisions to be dealt with in other prior meetings and possibly appear as a line item already made decision in line with key strategic pathways or at the best final approval due to unexpected variations to said strategy and the tactical decisions in place in the short term.

            Otherwise every meeting would be reams and reams of lists of similar detailed expenditure and the company would grind to a halt. That’s if there is a company because the place would have died decades previously!

            I was appointed many years ago at great cost to a position in a company that was a microcosm of the Daimler situation with exactly the same conundrum. Redundancy of many lifetime engineers with 10-20 years of employment. Appointment of one individual while many were unsure the job could not be undertaken by other much cheaper solutions. The job not really being the core focus of the company at that time and not fully understood.

            Some very successful years later that job was the mainstay of the company and I was appointed to the board to run the company during a highly successful merger with a very large multinational PLC that everyone here will have heard of.

            Who knows?

  6. I’m glad he is ok. I’m a fan and love watching him race but I really want to see Russell in the Merc for the last race.

  7. Big ham fan here. Really win/win for this weekend. Stoked if he gets in the car but if not it’ll be great to see Russel go at it again.

    1. 🇬🇧👍

  8. All the best for Lewis’s recovery. But I don’t think he should be racing at Abu Dhabi, it’d be a lot of stress when he should be recuperating and by the sounds of it, the symptoms haven’t been mild.

    1. @david-br True but he might be just as stressed being away and watching someone else make a mark in his car.

      1. @robbie I’m sure he has been already :O)
        However, the evolution of Covid-19 is unpredictable, he really should be focused on a full recovery. He’s done all he needs to this year.

        1. @david-br For sure. No argument there.

        2. I’m sure Lewis knows how he feels. If he is well and negative nobody should make him feel guilty about wanting to drive his car.

      2. @robbie

        In his car Robbie?

        Or on his car?


  9. It would be a huge shame for Hamilton to miss the finale. I mean, he has been one of the faces of the sport for the last couple of years. As much as I desire to see Russell have another drive in the W11 in Abu Dhabi to see, it does not feel right that Hamilton is absent for the last race of the season. He has nothing to gain yes, but his absence just does not feel appropriate for the sport in the ending race. On the other side, why not just use “sick leaves” and have a rest after winning 4 straight championships? Two races should not affect him right?

    Boy, if Russell and Hamilton get together, it will be difficult to take a side in terms of support.

    1. Boy, if Russell and Hamilton get together, it will be difficult to take a side in terms of support.

      The beautiful thing is @krichelle, nobody can force you or anyone to take a side. Just sit back and enjoy it!

    2. I actually think Bahrain was one of the most exciting weekends in F1 for some time. I am not sure anyone other than Mercedes was missing Lewis very much.

      It was great to see happy people on the podium. Tears. Gratitude for the opportunity to be there. I am so tired of the Mercedes Red Bull podium where everything feels contrived and taken for granted.

      1. I missed him at the “Sakhir GP” so…no.
        I wont be the only person either.
        Glad to to hear you are feeling well Lewis. Win 96 on Sunday!!

      2. Sadly I have to agree that a lot of people didn’t miss him and won’t miss him for a while longer if it comes to that. Nothing against him but the coverage of his new found cause is boooooooring as hell and unsuitable for sports websites and shows. I used to have the Sky F1 website bookmarked for my quick news check. I removed it a while ago due to them shoveling non sports related stuff down my throat, so came back to this site which is much better at sticking to actual sport.

        1. I simply cannot believe that after a year like 2020 has been with the worldwide pandemic and resulting social upheaval, that because someone a lot famous and the best at what he does speaks out at an event that thousands have gone to much effort to provide for our enjoyment, gets such ridiculous and toxic commentary.

          Even while he is sick AND absent!

          Then we get the ‘happy podium’ stuff.

          I mean, really?

    3. It would be anothe Jenson vs Lewis again. Battle of the Brits. And we know Lewis will come off as the ugly step-child and George the media darlin.

  10. HAM looks good.

    A few things , I thought under isolation you have to stay in your room?

    He has been to the gym, in the hotel I assume. Presumably he’s had his First negative test to leave his room?

    1. Where does it say gym? And I think you will probably find his ‘rooms’ are twice the size of the average house.

      Many top sportsman have gyms built into their suites before arrival.

    2. You are allowed to have more than one room I believe.

      You can even make that room a multi use room with things like a toilet and/or a kitchen so you can clean your teeth and avoid starving to death as that tends to make the tests a bit pointless.

      I am also pretty sure he is not down at the local Arabic body building joint mixing it up and showing off those ‘ceps’

      I seriously wonder at people sometimes.


  11. Not a Hamilton fan in the slightest, glad he feels better though, want Russell to have another crack at a win. Stay home, come back next year (or retire).

    1. Retire? Lol
      . Tell us how you really feel though…

      1. He has made the point before. He doesn’t want his boy going up against Hamilton only for his boy to be embarrassed when he is soundly trashed. Rather Ham retires undefeated.

    2. Awww bless.

    3. @jblank

      I thought you were doing so well until the ‘retire’

      I am glad too although I suspect George may have a little more difficulty at a track with more than four corners..

      Probably still enough to embarrass some of his ‘older more experienced’ brethren.

      Like Max 😃

      1. On the Marbles
        9th December 2020, 11:01

        I expect he will, but then I expect Bottas might too….. :)

  12. Don’t rush, Lewis. Take your time.
    Russell is doing for Mercedes just the same job you would have done. So, give yourself a break, and while you’re at it think about giving Binotto a call. Just to say hello and chat. .

  13. Put him in the Williams!

    1. @bullfrog – agreed! Fair’s fair!

  14. Only Hamilton fan’s want to see him back in Abu Dhabi, F1 fans would rather him sit this one out

    1. Entire pacific ocean worth of salt in this comment.

  15. Watching him cruise to another win is just boring. I’d rather cheer for the young gun! So see you next year Lewis!

  16. Jose Lopes da Silva
    8th December 2020, 17:43

    He should be aside, relax and get fit for the biggest statistical challenge ever for a Grand Prix driver, which Schumacher failed to achieve in 2006.

    1. Lewis has exceeded Schumachers achievements.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        8th December 2020, 19:29

        I mean World titles.

  17. What if George is going to Merc, Perez to Williams, and Bottas to Red Bull?
    I mean Bottas could be a good Barrichello to Verstappen.
    Who would you choose as a no 2 between Bottas and Perez?

    1. Rumours are Bottas (back) to Williams and Russel to Mercedes.
      (social media changes at both drivers seem to suggest this according to several sources.)

      1. Awww bless you Erik. Is this the talk in the playground?

        1. The social media changes have happened though. BOT has taken “Mercedes F1 driver” out of his bio. Just says “driver” now.

          Russell dropped Williams from his bio before the last race.

          1. I just don’t understand why Bottas would go from the best team to one of the worst. Why be a no 1 driver at Williams when you could be no 2 at Red Bull?
            And Bottas has proven himself as a no2 and that he wouldn’t rock the boat, as Perez might. I am sure he would even take a pay cut to not go to Williams. And Christian Horner would be happier with Bottas than with Perez.
            (I like Perez, not a big fan of Bottas at all. So I hope Perez gets the seat, though not sure Red Bull will drop Albon).

  18. Please no.

  19. Seems ok in his online post, he’s done a gym session and wants to drive, takes his role seriously.

    Hopefully he is COVID free.

  20. I got a feeling Lewis plans on winning Sunday’s race and announce his retirement from the sport. Maybe he’ll even opt for using #1.

  21. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    8th December 2020, 19:47

    I find it quite telling that he’s not mentioned Russell’s incredible short notice performance or the bad fortune. Even just a nod to the team and the race he’s missed. I suppose it all has to be about Lewis.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      8th December 2020, 19:49

      Not like he hasn’t had the spare time and isn’t a stranger to his smart phone usually.

      1. Don’t worry, if he’s back next week the press will be asking him some gotcha questions so they can use his responses to put a wedge between him and George/Bottas. And I thought he was busy lately with the X44 impending reveal? But if you know different I’d love to hear it.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          8th December 2020, 21:27

          No he’s been off work with Covid. Didn’t even wish the team luck in his absence.

          1. …and you have access to his personal phone, how?


    2. Yes, you’d think as a veteran of the sport and leader in that Merc team he’d congratulate Russell for his solid performance.

    3. Yep it’s appalling that lack of inserting yourself publicly via social media into the chaotic f#£ck up that his team managed to produce on Sunday? Preferring to perhaps use his phone for its primary purpose that of a consoling call to TOto and the team maybe?

      Or you might even think that while suffering from COVID he has not been feeling up to messing with his phone and keeping his ‘fans’ updated?

      But no, not a chance, Racing F1 ‘fans’ criticise him for not applauding the worst weekend Mercedes have had on social media while crushing both his team mate his understudy and his team…

  22. I thought the idea was to take 2 weeks (or more) to be free of the virus so you can’t reinfect others (regardless of how well you feel)? I think I had it back in the spring, took 6 weeks to get better and nearly broke a rib from coughing. It’s no laughing matter :-)
    Stay safe people!

    1. 10 days for confirmed cases, 14 days if you’re exposed. Wife a daughter had covid a little over two weeks ago. Suffering from covid pneumonia, but they are not deemed as contagious.

  23. According to the Covid-19 rules of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi it is not possible for him to drive in Abu Dhabi.

    In Bahrain you have to quarantine yourself for 10 days, meaning the earliest he can leave for Abu Dhabi is Thursday.
    As he is not part of the F1 caravan entering Abu Dhabi (which will have arrived already) he has to quarantine himself for 4 days in Abu Dhabi, so he can not be at the circuit in time.

    So unless some rule is bent, he is not available to race next weekend.

    1. …and so therefore, the inevitable question is “how much does the UAE want Hamilton racing”?
      My thoughts… these days, the UAE are as much into image, marketing and PR as they are into digging holes in the ground


    2. I “THINK”, and I say this cautiously as I’m not 100% sure, Lewis will be classed as part of the F1 caravan. If he has been isolated for 10 days and is Covid free then it would, IMO, be a bit harsh to make him quarantine as he has had less public contact over the last 10 days than everyone in the F1 circus. Guess it would require “special(ish)” dispensation from AD authorities though.

    3. @silfen Where have you seen this 4-days rule for Abu Dhabi? I can’t find anything about it.

      I find it hard to believe that Mercedes wouldn’t have already ruled him out if it were the case, or that he wouldn’t be talking about racing if it was actually impossible for him to do so.

      Regardless of that, rules can be and are often ignored for all the wrong reasons.

      1. @scbriml I got it from Joe Sawards blog.

        And a further Google search says it is 14 days minus the days already spent in the UAE (which is 10 days since the positive test) which also results in 4 days.

  24. What a bunch of foolish guesswork by so many on this topic. How about just leaving Lewis alone and not guess at his future by making such stupid comments based on the complete absence of facts. But that doesn’t stop the brilliant mindsets out there.

    1. Quite

      One of the downsides of all types of social media, including forums and comments sections, is that its given an equal voice and platform to the masses

      and yes everybody, I do realise the irony of this statement

    2. Absolutely – well said.

      COVID is a monster and surely we can give the guy a break just for a week.

      Instead the horrors have come out all over the internet en mass to suggest he is ‘asterisked’ must retire, wrap his car in a ribbon and give one to all the drivers as anyone can do what he has done (funny that one given no one has) and while he is at it ignore all social commentary and retire…

      Got to love how many people are handing a pandemic let alone LH and his fame and ability.

      Good as George was at the weekend, and he was, four corner tracks are not a good representation for long term assessment and Abu is a different prospect. That said the championships are won and I would imagine LH and the team are assessing the benefit of showing off a weakened LH vs GR, as well as LH wondering if a couple of races off will effect either him or the team next year.

      Signs on Sunday suggest they will!

  25. I think Hamilton should take it easy and have another week off…..just to be sure.

  26. Lewis should go to Red Bull. Perez and Russell to Mercedes and Bottas to Williams. I believe Lewis is still the best driver on grid as demonstrated by his win a few weeks ago in the rain. I believe he needs to go to Red Bull to prove it. A few years ago the Mercedes was a top 3 car but a driver could drive the wheels off of it or overheat the brakes. Lewis managed the tyres and the brakes over those years. This year, the 2020 Mercedes, is just the best car by a lot as shown by Russel’s this past weekend. He was able to jump into it and perform at the front with ease. The Mercedes engineers solved much of the tyre and brake issues and the car is far superior than the others. I think Lewis loves to challenge himself and a move to Red Bull will provide that challenge.

  27. Just a question. Where was Bono last weekend?

    It didn’t sound like he was on the other end of the radio for Russel. Did he just take time off because Lewis wasn’t racing, or has he too been struck down with COVID but it’s not been mentioned?

    1. Some research suggest that novel corona virus affects brain besides lungs and other organs, describing Covid-19 as systemic disease. According to the behavior of Mercedes’ pit crew in Bahrain it seems that more Mercedes team members are affected by Covid-19. Jokes aside, I would understand Lewis rushing back if the championship was at stake but in these circumstances I’d like to see George continuing to dismantle poor Valtteri before Max does, just to keep it in the house.

    2. Bono was Russell’s race engineer.

    3. Apart from being on the grid giving Russell some last minute talk?

      Seriously, he was doing his usual job but working with Russell and no Hamilton.

  28. Merc need to snap up Russell ASAP given he’s got more out of the Merc in 48 hours than Bottas has in 4 seasons.

    The fact is the world champs only have Bottas under contract for 2021 as of right now. They don’t have a lead driver.

    Sign up Russell right now as a lead driver so 2021 is sorted. Russell will win a championship for them.

    If Hamilton wants to come back in 2021 replace Bottas with Hamilton.

    There’s also a chance RBR snap up Russell. Why would they? I don’t think Verstappen would fear him in the slightest.

  29. Can’t help but think that if Hamilton was in front, gap to Bottas would be larger therefor the pit stop would not have been messed up like this.

    Unless it was orchestrated to help the sister team finish 3rd in the WTC..

  30. Merc are 5-6 years ahead of you. George was “snapped up” a long time ago.

    1. Reply to D Franklin

  31. Every day now in my thoughts I wish good health to Lewis Hamilton. I am very happy that he is recovering well. Fingers crossed for Negative Covid19 latest test for Lewis.

  32. I wonder if they would have prevented Lewis from racing had he not clinched the championship already.

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