Lewis Hamilton has spoken about his “personal choice” to continue wearing a mask in the paddock, having twice had Covid-19.
The Mercedes driver missed the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020 after testing positive for the virus, with George Russell stepping into his shoes in his absence.
Mandatory mask-wearing in the paddock was brought in during the pandemic, but those rules have since been relaxed due to the lower prevalence of Covid cases in 2022, although Hamilton is still wearing a mask in public – as he does not want to catch the virus for a third time, while also wanting to protect those around him.
The seven-time former World Champion revealed he lost a stone in weight towards the end of 2020, in no small part due to the effects of contracting Covid.
He acknowledged other people may feel differently towards wearing a mask but explained why he has taken his own stance.
“No, this is a personal choice,” Hamilton told reporters about his continued mask-wearing.
“I just noticed a lot of people around me are getting sick and I definitely don’t want to get sick again. I’ve already experienced it twice.
“A lot of my friends have messaged me that they have Covid and some are much worse than others.
“Nobody’s wearing a mask so I’m definitely wearing mine. I urge people to do what they want to do – it’s your health at the end of the day but I want to go home healthy.
“I want to be able to get up and train and do the things I love doing and I try, if I can, to keep the people I love around me safe when I can when I’m around them.”
On track, Mercedes are starting to close the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull in front of them, with their technical director Mike Elliott believing the gap between Hamilton and the Ferrari duo is now only two to three tenths per lap in race trim, while Toto Wolff thinks Mercedes have managed to halve the gap to the front over the course of the season so far.