Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2022

Hamilton wearing Covid mask again as ‘a lot of people around me are getting sick’

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he has resumed wearing a mask to protect against Covid-19 as more people around him have contracted the virus in recent months.

The Mercedes driver said he’s “already experienced it twice”. He missed the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19 and said last year he believed he was suffering the effects of ‘Long Covid’.

Other drivers, including Daniel Ricciardo, and team members in the paddock, such as Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, have also been seen sporting protective face coverings around the paddock in recent rounds of the championship.

Hamilton, who wore a mask during the post-race press conference yesterday and on other occasions during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, said his decision to do so was a “personal choice.”

“I noticed a lot of people around me are getting sick and I definitely don’t want to get sick again,” he explained. “I’ve already experienced it twice.

“But just I notice a lot of people around me, a lot of my friends messaging me that they’ve got Covid and some of them are much worse than others.”

Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington was absent from last weekend’s round at the Red Bull Ring. Marcus Dudley, who previously substituted for Bonnington at the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, stepped in again.

Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
Hamilton did not confirm whether Bonnington was among those he know who had contracted Covid, but said: “Obviously I didn’t have Bono with me this weekend.”

“No one’s wearing a mask so I’m definitely wearing my mask,” he continued. “I urge people to do what they want to do, it’s your health at the end of the day. But I want to go home healthy. I want to be able to get up and train and do the things I love doing.

“I try, if I can, to keep the people that I love around me also safe when I can, when I’m around them.”

The most recent data from the World Health Organization indicates global Covid-19 infections rose by almost 18% week-on-week at the end of last month.

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2022 Austrian 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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51 comments on “Hamilton wearing Covid mask again as ‘a lot of people around me are getting sick’”

  1. A lot of people around you are getting sick but I don’t think wearing a mask is the solution.

    1. He’s free to make his own informed decisions.

      1. I don’t think he said he (Hamilton) isn’t.

      2. Spot on mate

      3. @theswift I was joking, the heavier version of the joke got deleted.

    2. Yup, my understanding was it’s to “protect others”, but even that’s hugely debatable.

      1. Yup, my understanding was it’s to “protect others”, but even that’s hugely debatable.

        The only people debating it are the anti-vaxxer and conspiracy crowd.

        5% reduction in your risk if you wear a mask, 90% reduction in the risk for people nearby.

      2. It’s not debatable. I don’t know how many peer reviewed studies need to be published on this for you people to consider it settled. If you don’t like masks or want to politicize the hell out of them, that’s your problem. But their effectiveness is proven.

      3. Sorry, but is far, far away from “debatable”.
        Is precisely because of people who find it “debatable” that two years later we are still dealing with this.
        I’ve lost both my parents to covid, so is a very sensitive thing for me. In my office, half of the personnel is right now with covid. All our personnel who worked at the NATO summit in Madrid came back with corona.
        Two years after the start of the pandemic we are still in this mess, but I hope those people who find the use of mask “debatable” are having a jolly good “debate”.

    3. Seat-belts are not a solution to car crash deaths, but it’s better to driver buckle up than not.

    4. Well, it certainly isn’t going to hurt, is it…

    5. Then what? Stay away from everyone? And his job involves travelling. It is the best he can do at least. People expect everything to be solved with covid, but everyone is doing what they can to stop the spread. Solution is then to wear a mask in enclosed areas, eat healthy and sleep enough time. The fact that athletes can get covid show the virus is no joke. What else? Implement a lockdown? People being careless and reasoning that they are healthy so they do not need to worry about anything, is a big joke to hear from them.

    6. And your credentials in epidemiology are what? Do you even know any epidemiologists? The ones I know wear N95 masks any time they are in public or crowds. The data for the efficacy of N95 masks is robust.

      1. Do you even know any epidemiologists?

        They might not, but…
        Wear a mask folks, it’s too late when you catch it.

        1. Too late for what?

          1. Too late for what?

            For some people, too late to live.
            For some people, too late to avoid catching it, not suffering a lot, passing it on and dealing with someone you know dying.
            Covid is not just a bad cold, not just a sniffle and headache, it kills.

            Is wearing a mask and washing your hands etc. such a hardship?

      2. @kerrymaxwell This is correct.

        I wasn’t feeling well at all last week and it got to the point I was bed ridden, down for the count; took a test and tested positive for Covid. I wasn’t wearing a mask and I got it. I’m still effected by it as I type but hopefully will get better soon.

        Recently at the start of Tour de France, they were hit hard by it with several riders not feeling well and tested positive, everyone started wearing masks and looks like things have now gotten better after all the riders and team members were tested Sunday night.
        Masks really, really do suck to wear but they really do help by what epidemiologists and many peer review studies have shown. So far I’ve lost a week of income from feeling like total crap and down for the count.

        1. I stopped following the Tour a few years ago, mainly because it’s so time consuming and intensive, and the early stages can be quite stressful between cobblestones and crashes. Hope you recover quickly.

        2. @kerrymaxwell I stand corrected. After Sunday evenings Covid test to all rides and crews; it’s now getting announced many riders have tested positive having to isolate. Organizations now has to make some drastic isolating changes to peloton and crew. They have two weeks to go.

          I think it’s now very obvious that Covid is sweeping through Europe and Ham and others wearing a mask is very smart, testing positive will mean having to sit out a race or two not to mentioned possibly getting sick.

    7. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      12th July 2022, 8:40

      I agree, but for the reason that wearing a mask helps prevent transmission from you to others – much more than preventing you getting the virus from others. As if everyone breathing or speaking are close to you, you are still breathing in that through your mask.

      It only becomes truly effective if everyone makes an effort to wear a mask around you, as well as at times it is possible, keep a reasonable le distance.

      I personally think that if this is really what Hamilton thinks, then he’s a little uninformed about how masks are effective:

      “No one’s wearing a mask so I’m definitely wearing my mask,” he continued. “

      It’s not going to help him by wearing a mask if the first point is true.

      On public transport in the UK, it feels pointless me wearing my mask if nobody else will, as it makes no difference for me. The main thing masks help for is to help prevent your breath, sneezes and similar from travelling as far, which they do help with. It only really works well if everyone makes the effort. If the vast majority were wearing a mask, I would then want to.

      1. It does still have a positive effect to protect yourself as far as I know, since it blocks part of the droplets, though clearly smaller than when others wear them too @thegianthogweed

    8. I don’t know where y’all are getting your information but tests from Max-Planck-Institute in Germany have confirmed:

      – Three meters distance to the infected, 3 minutes exposure: 90% risk of infection without masks

      – Three meters distance to the infected, 20 minutes exposure: 0.1% risk of infection with FFP2/N95 masks, further reduced if vaccinated.

      – Even ill-fitting masks or simple medicinal masks reduced the risk of infection to about 10%.

  2. The entire Ferrari garage appeared to be masked up this weekend. I was wondering if they’ve been hit hard by covid.

  3. Yes, I noticed there were far more masks between the paddock crew to be seen everywhere. Good to see them taking precautions to protect everyone.

  4. Pedro Andrade
    11th July 2022, 14:16

    If I was either Verstappen or Leclerc I would start masking up, and asking other team members to do so, at least in a work setting. It is still very possible to have a title fight derailed because you caught Covid and suffer from its syntoms for more than one week.

    1. Indeed, and as David wrote above, large parts of the Ferrari team already masked up this weekend.

  5. It protects yourself and others. 2.5 years in, I think everyone should know this by now.

  6. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    11th July 2022, 14:33

    Why even ask the question when you know the answer? Honestly wearing a mask to protect yourself and potentially others from a particularly unpleasant illness really doesn’t need an explanation by now. You don’t ask people why they wear what they choose to or why they eat what they choose to and we need that kind of behaviour over masks – if someone chooses to wear it then who’s business is it other than theirs? Why are you wearing a mask? Because I don’t want to get sick. Simple.

    1. Or simply, because I want to…

    2. I agree that no one really needs to explain at this point why they are wearing a mask, but I do find articles like this that show notable public figures are still taking precautions are worthwhile. Even if it is only to show that COVID is still around and should still be treated seriously as it still is causing a wide range of outcomes, including deaths.

      As always, the best defenses against it are to get vaccinated, wear a mask, socially distance if possible, and maintain good hand hygiene. No one of these defenses alone will stop COVID but as a series of layered defenses, they are quite effective in preventing the spread of the disease.

      1. Trying to stop the spread isnt an ethical point of view (however noble it feels) nor even remotely doable. Covid is a coronavrius. It’s entry into the population looks very similar to OC43 (1890), another coronavirus that circulates today. Colds like OC43 are serious to vulnerable people and do cause deaths and cause a wide range of problems, the only difference is we don’t have tests for OC43 liike we do for C19 etc.. so they are not logged in the same way. We do have analysis, but it’s not to the same degree. We have never stopped any of the cold viruses that circulate, there’s zero reason why we should think we can do the same for C19.

        C19 will always be around, it will always spread, it’s stay in permanent. In this environment, attempts to slow the spread are futile, and possibly unethical as any effective measures cause immeasuable economic damage as well as slow long-term immunity within the population from serious diseases (as we have with OC43 and H1N1 – the latter being biblically worse than C19 when it arrived). As we are seeing now with rises of Extreme Poverty the argument for mitigation have failed completely. We have caused harms beyond comprehension with the decisions we made. However justifiable they felt at the time.

        Those who talk mitigation need to start taking responsibility for their actions and words. We either get used to C19, forget about and move on, or we live in a perpetual state of poverty. C19 is not ‘new’.. nor particularly lethal (OC43 arguably worse, The flu pandemics of 50s and 60s about the same, and H1N1 1919 FAR FAR FAR FAR worse)… we need a conversation change, a grown up one.

        1. The only sensible contribution here, thanks.
          All these people here that think that masks are effective in stopping the spread of c19 or getting infected, are very naive.

          1. I would like to advise Hamilton to wear a full gas-mask, much safer than that peace of white cloth…

          2. All these people here that think that masks are effective in stopping the spread of c19 or getting infected, are very naive.

            So, the whole health community are deluded and naive in your opinion?

          3. @SteveP. Unfortunately so. The effects of masking are marginal at most on protection for transmission of c19. As far as the spread of the virus masking only delays this a little bit, but in the end the spread will occur anyhow. So the health community are right if they claim some effects of masking, but the real question here is, do we want to live like this?
            At least we never did this before with flu (often more severe than the current c19 variant), but maybe the times have become so woke that we don’t want to accept even the slightest risk anymore.

        2. What gives your attitude the right to disregard public safety measures, thereby contributing to overwhelmed medical systems?

    3. Double edged sword, as he can hide the jewellery too. Saves a lot of hassle with FIA.

  7. Seems like a sensible precaution to take. In the UK covid is rife again. I know more people with it now than at anytime in the past two years. I’ve just had it myself for the first time and after 4 weeks I’m still not back to full health.

  8. A complete non story ranked fifth most important on your site at the moment.

    Is it a conscious editorial decision to keep focusing on these wedge issues?

    1. If you think masking during a worldwide pandemic of an airborne illness is a *wedge* issue, you’re part of the wedge.

      1. @kerrymaxwell you’ve perfectly illustrated my point with confrontational accusation off the back of a post where I didn’t give my opinion on the substantive issue.

        What I object to is seeing a website I like(d) becoming increasingly focused on these wedge issues that are clearly there to drive arguments in the comments section.

        Man wears mask. It’s a non story.

        Can we talk about the racing yet?

        1. Yes a non issue. At least he is wearing it right side up these days.
          Racing …. how about those Haas Guys … ain’t that great.?

        2. You did give your opinion by describing an efficacious public health measure as a “wedge issue”. The health and well-being of drivers and the paddock is a perfectly legitimate topic for this site.

    2. This is an important issue as it could impact the championship. If Max for example tested positive on the sunday of a bouble header, he will miss two races and potentially 50 points to his lead.

  9. Wow! How pathetic and senseless this thinking is. Jeez

  10. Some people think this was a silly answer. It would be nice to know what the silly question was…
    Sensible enough to me – he doesn’t want himself or key team members missing any more races – far more responsible than the Wimbledon so-called champion.

  11. You have to give him credit for being consistent in pretending to be an authority and he has had a great PR team for years.

  12. Obviously not smart enough to know (or look into) a mask offers no protection and in itself wearing one will more likely make one ill.
    But I guess his puppet masters are making him push the globalist narrative some more.

    1. a mask offers no protection

      Yes Brett. Fox News suggested holding your breath for twenty minutes is far more effective. Injecting bleach is also totally fine.

    2. It’s ok, you can believe all the conspiracy theories you want, but the scientific facts remain the same. Nutcase

  13. isthatglock21
    12th July 2022, 17:03

    No brainer really, No F1 driver wants to miss a race cause the optics of another driver in your seat is always horrible…also don’t forget most are paid race by race so it’s a easy few million down the drain for the big stars. Wouldn’t surprise me if we got to a point where a driver catches covid but still shows up but with a mask to minimise spreading it without letting anyone know. We’re at that stage

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