Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for novel coronavirus and will thus miss this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix, Mercedes announced on Tuesday.
Hamilton, who sealed this year's title in Turkey and won Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix, was tested three times last week including Sunday afternoon as part of the regular testing program, returning a negative result each time, according to Mercedes.
However, on Monday morning, he woke up with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive. He therefore took a further test and returned a positive result.
The Briton is now isolating in accordance with Covid-19 protocols and public health authority guidelines in Bahrain.
'Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well'
"Apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery," the Mercedes statement read.
He is the third F1 driver to test positive for the deadly virus this season, following Sergio Perez at Silverstone and Lance Stroll in Germany.
Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne will travel to Bahrain after Formula E testing in Valencia on Tuesday. However, the team is yet to confirm who will replace Hamilton, saying they will do so in due course.