Mercedes to make late decision on Lewis Hamilton availability for Abu Dhabi GP

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Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team are prepared to wait until Saturday to determine if their star driver is fit to take part in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton remains hopeful he will be able to complete his world championship-winning season at the concluding round this weekend.

The 35-year-old, who missed last Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix after contracting coronavirus while on holiday in Dubai, revealed on Tuesday that he is back in training.

Hamilton must return a negative Covid-19 swab before he is allowed to travel to Abu Dhabi.

He is serving 10 days of quarantine in Bahrain, meaning the earliest he could possibly fly is Thursday. Practice for the concluding round starts on Friday.

But the PA news agency understands the world champions will afford Hamilton as much time as possible so he can race.

Under FIA rules, Hamilton can be absent from Friday’s two practice sessions, but must take part in either practice or qualifying on Saturday to be allowed to participate in the grand prix.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “There are still some question marks over who will be in the car this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

“Lewis’ condition is improving, but we won’t know until closer to the time if he will be driving.

“We’ll do everything we can to get him in the car and we know he’s determined to be back as soon as possible.

“But his health is our main priority, so we will see what the situation is and then make the call.”

George Russell replaced Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes car last weekend
George Russell replaced Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes car last weekend (Tolga Bozoglu/AP)

“I’ve just been focusing on recovering and trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race in Abu Dhabi.

“I woke up today feeling great and got my first workout in so I just wanted to send you guys a message of positivity, let you know I’m OK and thank every single one of you for sending me the amazing messages and videos. I really, really appreciate it. I hope that I can get back in the car soon.”

Williams’ George Russell stood in for Hamilton last Sunday and was on course for victory before a Mercedes pit-stop howler, and late puncture, derailed his chances of becoming only the fourth British driver to win a Formula One race this century.

Hamilton has won 11 of the 16 rounds staged this season and wrapped up his seventh title in Turkey last month.

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