Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020

Hamilton reveals he lost four kilos after contracting Covid-19

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has revealed more about the effect catching Covid-19 had on his health.

The world champion missed the penultimate round of the season, the Sakhir Grand Prix, after contracting the virus.

Hamilton tested negative for Covid-19 ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and was able to take part in the final race of the season, where he qualified and finished third. However he admitted during the weekend he wasn’t back to full fitness.

“I’ve lost six kilograms over the part two months, four of which I lost when I got Covid,” Hamilton revealed in a social media post. “I’ve lost so much muscle.”

Next to a picture of himself in a gym Hamilton said he was “starting from a low point in strength now, not fun, but I’m determined to get my strength back and be 100% again. No pain, no gain.”

Hamilton, who won the world championship for the seventh time this year, was yesterday named chosen as the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year for the second time in his career. The winner was selected through a public vote drawn from a shortlist of six candidates.

“I really want to say thank you to everyone who called in and voted for me,” said Hamilton after repeating his 2014 success in the competition. “I really wasn’t expecting this, knowing that there’s so many great contenders, but I think we’re all winners.”

Hamilton was named the winner ahead of footballer Jordan Henderson, jockey Hollie Doyle, cricketer Stuart Broad, snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan and boxer Tyson Fury.

“This year’s just shown how many iconic heroes we have in the UK,” said Hamilton. “I’m just really proud to be amongst them all. I will continue to try and do my part of presenting the country in the best way I can.”

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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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25 comments on “Hamilton reveals he lost four kilos after contracting Covid-19”

  1. Just how much of an effect is physical condition in this sport? I may not see it properly due to them driving the cars. Surely if we normal people, who are not used to enduring such forces and speed, drive the cars we may get dizzy after a couple of laps, but in terms of performance does it mean that you can “be faster” if you are physically stronger?

    I think if I drive one of those cars in a test, I may need to drink water every lap…

    1. Well, he was considerably slower and worn after the last race.

      I remember when I had a bad flu, it took me 3 months to regain my running speed where I was before the flu. Also lost 6kg then.

      Considering Lewis has very little except muscle to loose, that must be a big blow to his strength and endurance.

      We can assume he is only as strong and fit as he needs to be for optimal performance, anything more would be extra weight.

      Anything less would hurt his speed. And his speed was slow for his normal self.

    2. @krichelle A good question and a difficult one to give a definitive answer to – I guess it’s also partly an individual question, i.e., maybe it doesn’t apply precisely the same way to everyone.
      Regarding the last part: Difficult to judge how I’d physically manage if I were to drive a modern F1 car around a track. Merely driving a go-kart starts to feel somewhat tiring further on and the same in a single-seater simulator. I’d definitely like to try an actual (preferably modern) car someday, even if it were only driving around alone, be it, for example, Mercedes W10, Red Bull RB15, or Renault RS19.

      1. @jerejj, @krichelle I also recall that after the new rules that gave a minimum driver weight limit, a lot of the drivers, including Hamilton (but also definitely Hulk, Ricciardo for example) said they were very happy not just to not have to worry about drinking during the races (which really, the FIA should have acted sooner about, esp. for races like Silverstone, dehydration can be very dangerous, not to mention when you are driving, racing, esp. in an F1 car!), but also glad to be able to build some upper body strength to deal with G-forces and build more stamina for though races.

        Interesting @macleod, guess that’s what I thought about stamina above taking effect?

    3. Absolutely, Schumacher changed the game with fitness of drivers.

      If you’ve ever been karting then unless you’ve specifically trained for it or you’re incredibly fit then you tire quite quickly.

      The more tired you are the less you’re able to maintain your pace, just turning a kart at 20mph really takes it out of your arms and shoulders

    4. I always used to think (way back when I first watched in the 80’s) that they didn’t need fitness

      Then I imagined racing around the streets of London at 70mph for 2hrs, with equally gifted people trying to overtake me and realised I was well and truly wrong!!

  2. If your trained you can do the same stuf round after round without much errors that is speed.

    I know i was a rather fast carter myself but my fysic was getting worse that over 1 lap i could to the fastest lap but my average time was seconds slowerat the end. So a trained body is a Must.

  3. I’m surprised he was allowed anywhere near the car to be honest after hearing that. Losing 4kg in a week without doing intense exercise is indicative of a serious illness and could have been detrimental to performance.

    Hindsight is wonderful but given the risk/reward balance of him jumping in the car, it looks like he was on the wrong side of that equation. This is especially true as a viable replacement was available who probably could still deliver the same performance given Hamilton’s condition.

    1. Especially when you consider they’re topping out at around 70 or so kilos* so that’s circa 5% to lose – and when you’re stripped to the bare minimum so you don’t add unnecessary weight to the car as well that’s got to be a noticeable loss

      Didn’t they introduce minimum driver weights this season or last? I guess he was over that minimum.

      I got that figure from the Sky doc on him and Valentino swapping rides. Vale said he was 73 kilos but his hips were too wide to be comfy in the Merc.

      1. I do suppose a bike rider probably needs more upper leg strength than an F1 driver which partially might account for that @muzza; as to the minimum driver weight: if they are under it, the seat now gets packed with ballast (so that the seat+driver are still at least at that minimum), guess he got a few kilo’s near his butt?

    2. I agree

      But I think all the sports seem to think that they should be able to judge themselves when it comes to Covid, but never would with plenty of other injuries

      I fairness it’s only now that we know that long covid effects 20% of people regardless of previous fitness

      I think all sports might insist on further protocols in the future

  4. I got a cold last christmas, spent a few days in bed. I lost over 2 kg, I’m no athlete otherwise I would have lost more.

    1. What’s the point of this comment, are you trying to be clever again @peartree?

      1. @john-h Ham shared that he lost a lot of weight whilst sick I was sharing the same experience. Nothing clever about it.
        Are you always discriminating against me? You always read something other than what I write.

        1. I’m no athlete otherwise I would have lost more.

          Ok @peartree, perhaps you can explain this comment before you start saying I’m “discriminating” against you. Why would an athlete lose more?

          I’m sorry if I’m off the mark, but I’m not discriminating against you. Years of ridiculous comments I have happily ignored.

  5. It’s hard to tell now with the masks they wear but he looked pale to me and sort of weak but I mean, he still put that thing on the podium so maybe we’re overlooking this.

  6. So, obviously he needed more time to recover. But he just couldn’t countenance Russell doing so well again in that car. Oh no.
    People might start questioning whether it mattered at all who the driver was, when the sheer superlative characteristics of the car made success a cinch.

    1. This again? So why is Hamilton a 7 time world champion and not 3-4 times? Surely by your logic it’s the car, so why didn’t Rosberg win more? Or Bottas win some?

    2. A driver who had not missed a race in 27 years, you think it was because of Russell he kept showing up in those past events.

    3. Ahh here it is !! You gotta laugh at these people. A man who has partnered Alonso, Button and Rosberg who are all WDC’s was scared of a guy who’s had 1 good race

  7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    21st December 2020, 23:33

    Always so dramatic

  8. Water weight or muscle mass?

    How can you loose that much muscle mass by being out for only two weeks?

  9. i had mild covid symptoms for 3 weeks or so, really bad to be honest, i lost like 5 pounds with that. its because you lost you apetite, and you body need a lot of fluids.

  10. I’m surprised. It seemed like he was mostly asymptomatic.

    He had tested positive the Monday after the Bahrain race. He was fine Sunday.

    Then 7 days later he was basically all guns blazing ready doing everything he could to get ready for Abu Dhabi.

    It seemed like he had already cleared the virus a week after testing positive because he and Mercedes were fairly certain he would race in Abu Dhabi. The only uncertainty was to whether he would satisfy Abu Dhabi quarantine requirements.

  11. The flu does that to you.

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