Hamilton says COVID effects affected him ‘massively’ in race

Lewis Hamilton confessed to feeling “massively” below par in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as the Formula 1 world champion said the ongoing impact of coronavirus continued to dog him.

The Mercedes driver returned to action in the F1 season finale this weekend after missing the Sakhir GP because of COVID-19, but he admitted to not having fully recovered from the illness.

After taking third place behind Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in the Yas Marina race, Hamilton said that he did not feel good and felt his form had been hurt.

“That was a really hard race for me,” he said. “All year physically I’ve been fine, but today I definitely wasn’t. So I’m just glad it’s over.”

Asked if he felt coronavirus had impacted him in the race, he said: “Physically, massively. I don’t think I’ve ever been so blown.

“My body is not feeling great, but look on the bright side I made it through. I didn’t think anytime last week that I’ll be here.

“So, I’m just really truly grateful for my health and to be alive, and looking forward to recovering over the next period of time we have. Then get back into training and get my body back to where I know it should be.”

Hamilton and Bottas were left unable to properly challenge Verstappen during the Abu Dhabi GP, with Red Bull’s speed having been much better than the Mercedes duo had predicted.

Bottas said: “I think Red Bull was too quick today. Surprisingly quick. We thought the race pace would be pretty identical but yeah they could really control the race and the gap when needed. I was trying everything I could but couldn’t keep up with them.”

Hamilton added: “The Red Bulls I think this weekend were just too far out of reach for us. We just couldn’t hold on to the pace that they had.”

With Red Bull’s Alex Albon having closed on to Hamilton’s tail in the closing stages, the Mercedes driver praised the job the Thai driver had done.

“It was a fantastic job to see Alex right up there with us,” he said. “We were having a two team battle which is I think what the sport needs.”

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