The already drama-packed 2020 Formula 1 season has taken yet another turn as newly-crowned 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, November 30. The day before that, the blisteringly fast Brit secured his 11th victory this season at the Bahrain Grand Prix, a race which was overshadowed by Romain Grosjean’s harrowing crash. As a result of his positive test, Hamilton is set to miss the inaugural Sakhir GP, the second to last race on the 2020 F1 calendar.

The Mercedes-AMG F1 team reported that Hamilton was tested “three times last week and returned a negative result each time.” the last of the three tests was conducted at the Bahrain International Circuit in line with F1’s strict testing program. However, the 35 year-old awoke on Monday morning to discover mild coronavirus symptoms and was “informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive,” said Merc-AMG. Hamilton subsequently took another test, which returned a positive result.

Hamilton already won the 2020 F1 season with three races to go at the Turkish GP and with that equalled Micheal Schumacher’s World Championship record. Nevertheless, the Brit said he is “devastated” to miss the Sakhir GP in a social media message to his supporters:

If Hamilton was to race in the Sakhir GP, he would stand a fighting chance of breaking yet another record this season, that of Alberto Ascari’s 75-percent win percentage set in 1952. While Hamilton will most definitely miss out on December 3, this will be his first absence since his F1 debut at the 2007 season-opening race in Australia. The Brit must return a negative test before returning to the paddock and this casts doubt over his participation in the season-concluding Abu Dhabi GP on December 13.

With the top dog out of his driver’s seat and into isolation, an opportunity to race in the fastest car on the grid remains. William’s driver George Russell and Mercedes’ Formula-E driver Stoffel are perhaps the most likely candidates, but fans of the motorsport are calling for Nico Hülkenberg to be given the rare opportunity – and what a sight that would be to behold. For the rest of the pack, the chances of finishing in first place, and indeed on the podium, have improved dramatically. Sunday’s race will be a free-for-all and certainly won’t be one to miss, so stay tuned to NEWS.MC for the full race report.

Featured image courtesy of @LewisHamilton on twitter