Vegan Lewis Hamilton says he is ‘happy to be alive’ after surviving coronavirus, and has blasted ‘world leaders’ for ‘laughing off’ the illness.
The Formula 1 expert was forced to miss a race last week and spend 10 days in isolation due to the illness.
However, he recovered in time to compete in the final event in Abu Dhabi this week.
‘COVID is no joke’
After the Abu Dhabi race, Hamilton said: “I am destroyed. I do not feel good.
“But I’m happy and grateful I am alive. I live to fight another day and I still managed to finish with a podium.
“Covid is no joke. I never thought it was. I knew at some stage if I got it it would be tough because there are people out there losing their lives. So I knew it was serious.
“I always find it very strange to see world leaders laughing it off like it is nothing. To be able to come back here this weekend, I knew I wouldn’t physically be where I have been the rest of the season but I made it. Where there is a will, there is a way.”
Lewis Hamilton announces illness
Hamilton revealed he had contracted the virus on Instagram on December 1. His Mercedes team released a statement saying: “Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing program.
“However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to his arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive.
“Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has been confirmed by a retest.”
Speaking after the Abu Dhabi race, Lewis Hamilton described 2020 as ‘one of the hardest years, if not the hardest, because we have all dealt with isolation’.
He added: “We have not been around people; there has been a great loss of life. Life is not normal.
“I am grateful we got to race and these races can take a lot out of you, so for me definitely it is a great achievement for F1 to have got us back racing.
“Thank God for the wellbeing and health of everyone here, the sport has managed to get safely through the year.”
Vegan Lewis Hamilton
The vocal vegan athlete has used his massive platform to discuss isolation and encourage fans to make the connection between lockdown and the loneliness felt by animals in captivity.
Earlier this year, he uploaded four images of a panda in an enclosure – captioned ‘now you know how the animals in a zoo feel’ – on his Instagram stories.
“If you are home on lockdown, perhaps you can feel a little of what the animals in captivity go through every day, their entires lives stopped from them,” he said.
“In future, please don’t go to any zoos or circuses because this is what our money goes to supporting #NoMoreZoos #Freedom.”