Earlier this month, the British race car driver revealed that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus and had immediately gone into a 10-day stretch of self-isolation. Returning to competition for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, he told reporters that he didn’t feel much like his usual self, but was nonetheless grateful to be able to participate after testing negative.
“I am destroyed. I do not feel good,” said Hamilton, who came in third place on Sunday. “But I’m happy and grateful I am alive. I live to fight another day and I still managed to finish with a podium.”
The seven-time Formula One world champion went on to criticize those who continue to flout mask-wearing and social distancing measures, telling the BBC, “COVID is no joke.”
“I knew at some stage if I got it, it would be tough because there are people out there losing their lives,” Hamilton said. “So I knew it was serious. I always find it very strange to see world leaders laughing it off like it is nothing.”
“To be able to come back here this weekend, I knew I wouldn’t physically be where I have been the rest of the season but I made it,” he added. “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
In October, Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix wins to become the most successful Formula One driver of all time.
In a Dec. 1 Instagram post, he said he’d tested negative for COVID-19 three times but asked for a fourth test, which came back positive. “I’m really lucky that I feel OK with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy,” he wrote.
While Hamilton didn’t delve into specifics pertaining to his recovery, he told Reuters he still had “some feeling within my lungs” a day ahead of Sunday’s race.
“Normally, I would drive even if one of my arms was hanging off,” he said. “It definitely won’t be the easiest of races physically but I will manage and give it absolutely everything I’ve got.”