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Lewis Hamilton given green light to race in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton given green light to race in Abu Dhabi
© Reuters
Stand-in George Russell will return to Williams.

Lewis Hamilton has been declared fit to take part in the concluding round of the Formula One season in Abu Dhabi.

The seven-time world champion, 35, arrived here on Thursday following 10 days of quarantine in Bahrain after he contracted coronavirus.

George Russell, who stood in for Hamilton at last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix – and was cruelly robbed of victory on his debut for the world champions – returns to Williams.

“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team is pleased to confirm that Lewis Hamilton will drive for the team in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” the world champions said in a statement late on Thursday evening.

“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.

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

“George Russell will return to Williams Racing for the final event of the 2020 season.”

Hamilton reported on Tuesday that he had endured one of the worst weeks in recent years as he battled to overcome the illness.

In his absence last weekend, Russell, 22, delivered an imperious performance.

He was on course to become only the fourth British driver to win a Formula One race this century before a Mercedes pit-stop howler – and then a late puncture – derailed his bid.

Reacting to Hamilton’s return, Russell tweeted: “Glad to see Lewis Hamilton back and fighting fit.

“Had a blast with Mercedes but now I’m buzzing to put everything I’ve learned into action with my team Williams. Gonna give it everything this weekend – just as they do for me week in, week out.”

Russell had completed his media duties wearing a Mercedes top earlier on Thursday – when the situation was still unclear – and reflected on his performance for the Silver Arrows.

“My mum was in tears afterwards and my sister, too,” said Russell.

“We live this sport together and it is so passionate, and emotions are so high. It was my first opportunity, not just for a win but to score points, and to have that taken away, not once but twice, was difficult.

“But having had time to reflect on the weekend, I have my head held high and I am proud of the job I managed to achieve.

“Last week exceeded expectations, but it is nice to have been recognised for the job I did and I will be approaching this weekend the same.

“I still have a hell of a lot to learn and it is going to be difficult. But it will be great to get another opportunity.”

Russell, a Mercedes junior driver, had said he hoped his performance in Bahrain would put pressure on team principal Toto Wolff to put him in one of his cars next season.

But, speaking on Thursday, Russell said: “That was just a throwaway remark in the heat of the moment after the race. Emotions were high. I have a contract, and I am a Williams driver for 2021.”

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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