Lewis Hamilton will miss F1 Sakhir GP after testing COVID-19 positive post the grand prix with mild symptoms.

Mercedes and the FIA dropped a bombshell on Tuesday morning with the announcement of a positive COVID-19 test for six-time champion, Hamilton. He did so after the Sunday’s test as he complained of mild symptoms on Monday, post the grand prix.

They undertook three tests last week, all of which returned negative, but the post-race standard test was positive. Hamilton will miss this weekend’s Sakhir GP as he joins the likes of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll – from among the drivers to catch the virus.

Mercedes noted that a replacement of Hamilton will be announced in the days to come with Stoffel Vandoorne scheduled to arrive in Bahrain post the Valencia Formula E test. It is unclear if Esteban Gutierrez is on scene but his superlicense situation could be a hindrance.

Super sub Nico Hulkenberg could be an option as Hamilton will be the second driver to miss this weekend’s F1 Sakhir GP after Haas’ Romain Grosjean, who is sidelined due to burns. The American team is fielding Pietro Fittipaldi.

Here’s the full statement from Mercedes: “The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team regrets to announce that Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unable to take part in this weekend’s Sakhir GP.

“Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing programme.

“However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive. Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest.

“Lewis 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, and the entire team sends him its very best wishes for a swift recovery. We will announce our replacement driver plans for this weekend in due course.”

UPDATE: Hamilton released his own statement –

Here’s Mercedes’ three-tyre stop for Valtteri Bottas in Bahrain