Lewis Hamilton Living in 'Constant Fear' of COVID as F1 Season Hits Climax

·2 min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton says it's strange to him that some athletes are now putting the COVID-19 crisis firmly behind them.

It's been 20 months after the pandemic struck, and now well into the mass vaccination campaign across the world, some COVID restrictions are finally beginning to ease in Formula 1. Seven time world champion Hamilton, however, says he is battling for the 2021 title while remaining in constant fear of the virus.

"I am still at home alone, but thanks to the experience from the previous year, this can now be managed a little better," Hamlton is quoted by European media outlet Auto Motor und Sport. "But you live in constant fear."

Hamilton, 36, has already had COVID. He tested positive following last year's Bahrain Grand Prix in November, and the virus kept him out of the Sakhir Grand Prix on Dec. 6. He said fully recovering from COVID, however, made the first half of this season "one of the toughest I've ever experienced."

Photo credit: Clive Mason - Getty Images
Photo credit: Clive Mason - Getty Images

Hamilton now says the fear is that another COVID infection will mean game over for the championship. He trails Max Verstappen by eight points in the championship and missing a race due to a positive test would almost certainly end his chances for an eighth title.

"It doesn't matter to the people around me if they miss a day of work," said Mercedes driver Hamilton. "But it can be decisive for us drivers. I see other athletes who are super relaxed about it and don't seem to mind if they get it. That feels strange to me."

Hamilton says there's plenty to be worried about as F1 begins relaxing restrictions.

"Last year it was only six months because of the short season, but now we've had it for almost a whole year," he said. "The rules have been relaxed somewhat in some areas, making it easier to be careless and get into trouble. So you always have to keep it in the back of your mind.

"My way of dealing with social contact is very different now than in the past. Now I keep my distance from everyone and always hold my breath when people are around."

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