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Lewis Hamilton tests negative for coronavirus, to race in season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has tested negative for the coronavirus and will replace George Russell for the final F1 race of 2020 at Abu Dhabi.

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Lewis Hamilton tests negative for coronavirus, to race in season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton ended his 10-day quarantine in Bahrain after testing positive for the coronavirus but he will race in the final F1 2020 race in Abu Dhabi. (Image credit: Twitter)
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Seven times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will return for Mercedes in Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing negative for COVID-19, the team announced. Hamilton was replaced for last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain by fellow Briton George Russell, who was unlucky not to win. Mercedes said Hamilton, 35, had already arrived at the Yas Marina circuit after ending 10 days of quarantine in Bahrain. Russell will now return to Williams, his regular team, with their reserve Jack Aitken standing down after his race debut last weekend. "Lewis tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday prior to completion of his self-isolation period in Bahrain," Mercedes said in a statement. "This enabled him to travel to Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon and he tested negative on arrival.

"Lewis has therefore completed the protocols required by the FIA for his entry to the paddock tomorrow and will be able to take part in the race weekend," added the team. The FIA confirmed separately that Lewis Hamilton would be granted access to the paddock after testing negative in both Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. The news gives Hamilton a shot at winning for the 12th time in 17 races, a result that would cement the pandemic-hit 2020 season as his most successful yet.

Ending season on a high

The Briton is already the sport’s most successful driver of all time, surpassing Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record 91 wins and equalling the German’s seven titles. Nothing is at stake for Mercedes in Sunday`s race, with both titles won for the seventh year in a row.

Mercedes have won the last six races at the Yas Marina circuit, Hamilton four of them including the most recent two. The Briton has also been on pole five times. While his return will be welcomed by fans, there will still be some disappointment for those who had hoped to see Russell get a second chance at victory after his impressive debut for the team a week ago.

The Mercedes-contracted youngster qualified on the front row, took the lead into the first corner and led for 59 laps before Mercedes botched his pitstop and a late puncture brought further misfortune. Russell still finished ninth and with the fastest lap for his first points in Formula One.

In addition, Hamilton, female jockey Hollie Doyle and Premier League champions Liverpool were the main winners at Britain’s Sports Journalists Association (SJA) awards. The ceremony was conducted virtually, instead of the usual gala event, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hamilton was named Sportsman of the Year after becoming the most successful Formula One driver of all time in a record-breaking season in which he equalled Ferrari great Michael Schumacher`s seven titles.

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