The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team has just announced that 7-time driver’s champion Lewis Hamilton will be returning to the grid for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
Just to recap, Lewis missed out on last week’s Sakhir Grand Prix after he tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in contact with someone else who was positive that visited him a few days before that GP.
Lewis experienced mild symptoms and then was tested to confirm. After his test came back positive he had to quarantine in isolation. In the meantime the Mercedes-AMG F1 team called up George Russell to fill in for Hamilton in the Sakhir GP.
That turned into a massive rollercoaster as Russell looked like a strong favorite to win the weekend. He missed out on pole position by just a few tenths of a second and led a significant portion of the race on Sunday. However, a huge tire change mistake by the pit crew did significant damage to Russell’s chances. That mistake was compounded by a tire puncture which came just a few laps after.
Were it not for those issues it is almost certain that George Russell would have earned his first F1 victory. After his impressive performance, fans were wondering if Russell would return for the final race in Abu Dhabi as it seemed like Lewis Hamilton would not be able to return in time.
However, it looks like Hamilton will be back in his car this weekend to close out a crazy 2020 season. The Mercedes-AMG F1 team released a statement that Lewis tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday while still in isolation in Bahrain. His negative test allowed him to travel to Abu Dhabi where he was re-tested and that second test came back negative as well which clears him to race under current FIA regulations.
George Russell arrived in Abu Dhabi not exactly knowing what car he would be driving but with Lewis’ return confirmed today Russell expressed via Twitter that he is happy to get back into his Williams car:
It will be interesting to see if George’s performance in the Williams actually does improve due to his experience in the Mercedes-AMG F1 car last weekend.
I’m also curious to know if any residual effects from COVID will play a factor in Lewis’ performance this weekend. I think fans will be hyper-focused on how Abu Dhabi will play out and I’m here for it.
What do you think? Is it wise for Lewis to come back so soon? Do you think he should have taken the last race off too just to be safe? Are you expecting more from George Russell now that we know what he can do? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or tweet them to me at @MotorworldHype.