Lewis Hamilton will race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Mercedes driver tests negative for coronavirus after missing last week's Sakhir GP

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Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has recovered from the coronavirus and will race at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.

Hamilton's presence at the Yas Marina circuit means that George Russell returns to drive for Williams in Sunday's race.

The seven-time world champion tested positive for Covid-19 the day after winning the Bahrain GP on Nov. 29 and missed last weekend's Sakhir GP in Bahrain as he self-isolated for 10 days.

“Lewis tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday prior to completion of his self-isolation period in Bahrain. This enabled him to travel to Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon, and he tested negative on arrival,” Mercedes said in a statement.

“Lewis has therefore completed the protocols required by the FIA for his entry to the paddock and will be able to take part in the race weekend.”

Governing body FIA confirmed that Hamilton was free to leave Bahrain according to the health authority regulations in place.

There are two practice sessions in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Russell was released by Williams to drive for Mercedes as an emergency replacement for Hamilton, and he impressed with his assured driving at the Sakhir GP.

He even looked on course to win the race before a botched tire stop by the team and a late puncture when he was in second place combined to push him down to ninth place. But the 22-year-old British driver's speed saw him earn a bonus point for the fastest lap and earn widespread praise.

Hamilton has won the Abu Dhabi GP a record five times, including the past two years.

He has an insurmountable lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who can still be overtaken for second place by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.


Gallery: Hamilton wins 2019 Abu Dhabi GP


The news gives Hamilton a shot at winning for the 12th time in 17 races, a result that would cement the pandemic-hit 2020 season as his most successful yet.

The Briton is already the sport's most successful driver of all time, surpassing Ferrari great Michael Schumacher's record 91 wins and equalling the German's seven titles.

Nothing is at stake for Mercedes in Sunday's race, with both titles won for the seventh year in a row.

Mercedes have won the last six races at the Yas Marina circuit, Hamilton four of them including the most recent two. The Briton has also been on pole five times.

While his return will be welcomed by fans, there will still be some disappointment for those who had hoped to see Russell get a second chance at victory after his impressive debut for the team a week ago.

Sunday will also feature Sebastian Vettel's last race with Ferrari after joining the Italian team in 2015. The four-time F1 champion, who has struggled most of the season, is racing for Aston Martin next year.