Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for the corona virus. That let his team Mercedes know on Twitter. He is currently having mild symptoms and is going into isolation. One of his possible replacements is the Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne.
About two weeks after Lewis Hamilton celebrated his seventh world title in Formula 1 in Turkey, the 35-year-old Briton has to deal with bad luck. Hamilton has tested positive for the corona virus. As a result, he will certainly miss next weekend’s Sakhir GP in Bahrain.
“Lewis was tested three times for the corona virus last week and each time tested negative. The last test was done on Sunday afternoon as part of the testing protocol associated with a race weekend, ”his Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team writes on Twitter.
“But, on Monday he woke up with mild symptoms. He was also told at the time that he had been in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus before his arrival in Bahrain. Lewis was therefore tested again and that test turned out positive. A retest confirmed that result. ”
Vandoorne or …
Except for a few mild symptoms, Hamilton feels fit and healthy. His Mercedes team also announced that it would soon appoint a replacement for next weekend’s grand prize.
One of those potential replacements is the Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne. The 28-year-old West Flemish is one of the two reserve drivers at Mercedes this year. He drove two full seasons for McLaren in 2017 and 2018. He was able to show his talent now and then, but convincing completely did not work.
Vandoorne then switched to the electronic Formula E racing series. With this he took second place in the championship in a Mercedes last season. The new season of the Fomule E will start in Chile on January 16.
… Hülkenberg or Russell?
The other Mercedes test driver in Formula 1 is Mexican Esteban Gutiérrez. But because it has been since 2016 that he still crawled into an F1 car, he does not have the necessary super license to compete in the Sakhir GP.
The experienced German Nico Hülkenberg is also mentioned as Hamilton’s replacement. He has already completed three races this season for a positive rider from Racing Point, the Mercedes satellite team. Vandoorne was also the first reserve then, but because those games were in the middle of the Formula E season, he had to cancel.
Finally, George Russel is also mentioned. The 22-year-old Briton is currently playing for Williams, one of the weaker teams in Formula 1. However, he is mentioned as a possible future driver at Mercedes and could therefore make the transition temporarily. Williams must give permission for this and that is not very likely.
Although no final decision has yet been made, all omens are favorable for Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian will fly to Bahrain later today after the tests for the Fomule E in Valencia. Whether that means that he can actually temporarily celebrate his return to Formula 1 this weekend is not clear.
If Vandoorne is appointed as a replacement for Hamilton, he will already have a unique chance at a top performance in the queen class of motorsport. Mercedes cars are by far the fastest at the moment.