The team released this statement:
Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing programme.
However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive. Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest.
Lewis is now isolating in accordance with COVID-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain. Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery.
We will announce our replacement driver plans for this weekend in due course.
The seven-time world champion is now isolating in Bahrain and is said to be “fit and well” aside from “mild symptoms.” Mercedes has not yet announced Hamilton’s replacement for the upcoming race, which is the second of back-to-back rounds at the Bahrain International Circuit. The final event of the season is a week later, in Abu Dhabi, meaning it’s possible Hamilton won’t compete again in 2020.
Hamilton shared his disappointment on Instagram:
I’m gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others. I’m really lucky that I feel OK with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy. Please look after yourselves out there. You can never be too careful. These are worrying times for everyone and we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and each others. Stay positive.
Esteban Gutierrez and Stoffel Vandoorne are Mercedes’ official reserve drivers, so they stand the best chance to replace Hamilton this weekend. However, Mercedes can go outside its staff if it wishes. Nico Hulkenberg is a possibility, as he’s already driven in three races in 2020 for Racing Point as a replacement for Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.