Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020

Up to Hamilton to decide if he’s fit enough to race – Wolff

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton will decide whether he is fit enough to compete in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after admitting he is not fully recovered after contracting Covid-19, says Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

After qualifying third on his return ahead of tomorrow’s season finale, Hamilton said he was “not 100%”, had “lost a good amount of weight” and had been “bedridden” since his last appearance at the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Wolff said it’s “absolutely his call to decide whether he’s fit enough or not” to take part in tomorrow’s race. The 55-lap grand prix took over an hour and a half to complete last year.

“He is a very experienced driver,” said Wolff. “He knows very well about his health and he’s been tested negative. And sometimes drivers are not perfectly well, but they still race. I think this is the situation.”

Wolff is confident Hamilton will be well enough to return to the cockpit tomorrow.

“A race driver is obviously keen in returning to the race car, even if he isn’t 100%. I think that’s expected after 10 days of Covid-19, you’re not going to be on your ‘A-game’, but I think absolutely good enough to race.”

Hamilton’s illness has disrupted discussions over his new contract for the 2021 F1 season, Wolff added.

“We were delayed by him being unwell and I think that’s not the right time to sit down,” said Wolff. “We were planning to sit down that other week, so it’s going to be a little bit later.

“But I don’t want put a date to it because I don’t want to be hounded by [questions] why it’s not signed yet.”

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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26 comments on “Up to Hamilton to decide if he’s fit enough to race – Wolff”

  1. I wonder why this huge secretism before being confirmed that Hamilton would participate in the weekend, and then all this effort to rush through despite Hamilton clearly not being at his best. Championships are all wrapped up, so no reason to push unnecessarily and risk Hamilton’s health. Maybe this is my tinfoil hat acting up, but I get the feeling that the only way this is justified is if Hamilton pulls a Rosberg and quits at the end of the season, and wants a proper farewell.

    1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      12th December 2020, 17:56

      There is absolutely no way Hamilton retires at the end of this year – unless someone is forcing him to, which seems unlikely.

      That eighth championship and 100th race win are both pretty much guaranteed if he stays with Mercedes for one more season. Frankly, he’d be insane to leave now.

      1. My theory is that Hamilton wants to do one more year and then retire, but Mercedes want him to commit for longer to see them through the regulation change in 2022. It is this issue that is holding up the contract talks – and does leave open the outside chance that Hamilton retires after this race, if one side does not back down.

    2. I’d love that; his farewell race tomorrow, then?!

      Maybe he also feels ”Schumacher and Hamilton” sounds more impressive than just ”Hamilton”?!

      Hsppy retirement!!

  2. My guess is that Mercedes will not be too impressed if Hamilton has to pull out.

  3. W T F ?
    Hamilton better be in his car Sunday! I understand that it could even be a safety issue if he is not 100% fit, but if he wasn’t 100% fit, he shouldn’t have been in the car at all this weekend.

    1. Yep. It was obvious to everyone that you can’t be 100% race fit just a week after recovering from a bad case of covid19 which is known for its long term effect on the body. In Hamiltons words (one of the most difficult weeks of his life). Someone should have made the call on safety grounds. I think it’s a case of shame on his employer for not doing so.

      1. Just wondering if we are mi$$ing some of the finer point$ in this discussion.
        Likely there is a bonus clause in his contract for points and win$.
        Passing up on a race that he could and potentially should win, will see him missing out on bonuses.
        That maybe part of his incentive to get back as soon as he has.
        Just a speculative thought.

        1. Good point, I hadn’t thought of that to be honest and if that’s the case I don’t blame him :) Although as I said I’m surprised he was allowed to race by his employer. Hurtling around a race track at 190 mph isn’t the most ideal situation to find out you’ve not fully recovered from this virus. I’ll be surprised if he manages to finish the race tomorow.

        2. @rekibsn – Makes no sense, they’ve won everything I doubt that’s the reason. If they weren’t in that position and it was potentially wcc and wdc to be decided in this race then it would be a story.

    2. Why couldn’t Fernando Alonso replace him. He assures that he can yield 110%: P

  4. All seems a bit sloppy and, shall we say, un-professional.

  5. Does F1 use drug testing?
    I can imagine Ham is pumped up with medicine or stuff to “improve” his performance.

  6. Which I guess is another way of saying Mercedes assume no responsibility for Hamilton being fit or not to drive their car.

    1. @david-br If Mercedes have any inkling that he is unfit to drive then he would be nowhere near the car. Corporate manslaughter is not funny which is what MB would face if something then happened.

      I assume that MB have done their own medical assessment passing him fit (if not, why not) and it is then down to him.

  7. This comes up as a topic after qualifying?

    After the talk by Mercedes how all they care about is to maximizing the team’s result at all times, now suddenly they haven’t even made sure a car can even take part?

  8. Reported on this web-site four days ago, Hamilton was quoted to say: “I’ve just been focusing 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.” Now, qualifying on 2nd row he is suddenly not feeling so great after all. So, maybe he needs to make up his mind.

  9. Respect, after a season like this and suspected covid he may, during the race, conclude that he tried but it was just too much. It is what it is then.

  10. YAWN. More hype.

    Pretty sure all of his tyres are already worn out.

  11. Lewis really is a dreadful whinger and I don’t think his fitness to race tomorrow would even have been considered if he had qualified on pole.

    If he really wasn’t healthy enough to be in an F1 car he shouldn’t have been allowed in to the paddock. And it would be irresponsible of him to insist on getting in the car. But he’s been doing just fine in the 5 hours of sessions he has already had this weekend!

    He’s fine. He’s just annoyed at getting beaten by a bigger margin than Russell did last week.

    1. Wouldn’t expect him to be 100% and he knows what he can and can’t do. He’s never missed a race until last week. Someone else drove his car, so needs to make extra adjustments, different track, different demands, Bottas has been keeping him honest all year in qualifying and Rbr have very slowly been improving, add it all up and he qualified where he did.

      I think the performance was good considering everything, but his expectation is to be first and he’ll be gunning for first.

    2. Of course. Always an excuse. It could never be him. He even puts them in before the event in case.

      Then if he does well, it was him despite the difficulty. He does this almost every race. Complain that something is bad (tyres, car, track), to make his performance look even better as if he had overcome all the troubles and it was down to his skill alone.

      There has never been a more self-aggrandizing driver in F1.

  12. He’s kept Russell out of his seat for the weekend. He’d probably be on pole or ahead of Bottas which would make Hamilton look like less of a hero , so either way it’s job done.

  13. Ok, he decides he is not fit enough.

    So….. who drives the car? Nobody. I think the rules are that in order to race that car, the driver has to take part in the same car in at least one free practice or the qualifying. Only Lewis has driven it this weekend.

    If he pulls out, then it is not likely that George can jump in it. Nor anyone else for that matter? Too late in the game to do so.

  14. Interesting comment section.

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