Lewis Hamilton 'destroyed' after return from Covid-19 at Abu Dhabi GP
Lewis Hamilton finishes third at season-ending Abu Dhabi GP, behind race-winner Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas; Hamilton admits he feels "destroyed" and "not good" after race return following Covid-19
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 14/12/20 10:53am
Lewis Hamilton said he felt "destroyed" and just "happy to be alive" after his first F1 race back following coronavirus at the Abu Dhabi GP.
Hamilton was a distant third at Yas Marina to close off his seventh title-winning season, with Max Verstappen dominating for Red Bull - 15 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes.
- The final F1 2020 standings
- Abu Dhabi GP Race Results
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But Hamilton - who said after qualifying on Saturday that he was "not the usual me" and still had "some feeling within my lungs" after his battle with Covid-19, which ruled him out of 2020's penultimate race in Bahrain - admitted he was feeling the effects after Sunday's 55-lap race, when the world champion, and Mercedes, were uncharacteristically off the pace.
"I'm destroyed. I do not feel good," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1's Natalie Pinkham. "But I'm happy, I'm grateful. I'm alive, and I live to fight another day.
"I still managed to finish off the season with a podium so I'm thankful to the team that I was able to contribute."
Hamilton added: "Considering the past couple of weeks I've had I really am generally happy with the weekend. That was a really hard race for me physically. All the year physically I've been fine but today I definitely wasn't.
"I don't think I have ever been so blown. I am just glad it is over. My body is not feeling great but I have to look on the bright side. I made it through, and I didn't think at any period last week that I would be here.
"I am really just truly grateful for my health, to be alive, and looking forward to recovering over the period we are off, and then getting my body back to where I know it should be."
Hamilton will have 96 days before he opens his bid to become a record-breaking eight-time world champion at the curtain-raiser in Australia, set for March 202.
Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, November 30 following the Bahrain GP. He then had to isolate in his hotel for 10 days, where he suffered mild symptoms, before returning negative results prior to the season-ender in Abu Dhabi.
The Englishman stated: "Covid is no joke.
"I never, ever thought it was from the get-go this year, and I knew at some stage if I got it it would be tough because there are people out there losing their lives so I know it's serious.
"I always found it very strange when you saw world leaders laughing it off like it's nothing.
"I'm so grateful I was able to come here this weekend, I knew I wouldn't physically be where I'd been the whole rest of the season but I made it, so when there's a will there's a way."