Lewis Hamilton says condition improving as he bids for F1 return at Abu Dhabi GP
Hamilton said he experienced one of his "hardest weeks" after contracting coronavirus and being ruled out of Sakhir GP; Seven-time world champion completed first workout on Tuesday and is hopeful he can return for this week's 2020 finale, for which he will require negative Covid-19 result
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 08/12/20 8:54pm
Lewis Hamilton has posted his first video message since testing positive for coronavirus last week and says he is back in training in the hope of returning for this weekend's final race of the season in Abu Dhabi after experiencing one of his "hardest weeks".
The seven-time world champion faces what is understood to be a narrowing window to return in time to his Mercedes car for the Abu Dhabi GP, with Hamilton requiring a negative Covid-19 test to have a chance of participating.
Hamilton, who was replaced by George Russell for last week's Sakhir GP, remains in a period of isolation in his hotel in Bahrain, which ends on Thursday.
Speaking in his video message, Hamilton said: "Hi everyone. I hope you are all well.
"I know I've not been in touch this past week but it's definitely been one of the hardest weeks that I've had for some time. Just been focusing on recovering and trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race the final 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 and let you know I'm ok, and thank every single one of you for sending the amazing messages and videos. I really appreciate it."
Hamilton's post did not say he had yet tested negative.
Hamilton has suffered mild Covid-19 symptoms and posted a positive test and retest last Monday. There are extensive protocols being operated around F1's Abu Dhabi race, with a 'biosphere' effectively in place on the Yas Island where the track is. All of the sport's personnel flew to the UAE on Monday from Bahrain.
Although the event begins on Thursday, with the first track action a day later, Hamilton could conceivably return to action as late as Saturday's qualifying session. The FIA rules state that drivers can compete in the Grand Prix if they have participated in at least one practice session that weekend, of which qualifying is included.
Nico Hulkenberg stood in for Lance Stroll at Racing Point from qualifying onwards at October's Eifel Grand Prix.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky F1 after Sunday's race that Russell, who usually races for Williams and nearly won in Hamilton's place in Bahrain, would again sub for the world champion if the 35-year-old was still suffering from coronavirus.
Reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne could be an option for Mercedes to participate in Friday practice only if Hamilton was able to return from Saturday onwards.