It is no secret that COVID-19 infections have raised, the world has seen an 18% increase per week up to the end of last month according to the World Health Organisation. This is due to the relaxation of prevention measures. Since a few Grands Prix ago, we have seen that different characters have returned to use the mask in the paddock. Daniel Ricciardo, Mattia Binotto and Lewis Hamilton among them.
Hamilton said that he has returned to using it due to the fact that many people around him have recently acquired the virus and that he really wouldn't want to get sick again, as he has already experienced the disease twice (once causing him to miss the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix) and that the after-effects have been long-lasting. "I noticed a lot of people around me are getting sick and I definitely don't want to get sick again," he explained. "I've already experienced it twice.
The British driver added that among his friends, there are people who have it and some have worse symptoms than others: "But just I notice a lot of people around me, a lot of my friends messaging me that they've got Covid and some of them are much worse than others."
The Briton wasted no opportunity to urge people to keep looking after themselves and to stress that he would continue to do so in order to look after his health and do what he enjoys: "No one's wearing a mask so I'm definitely wearing my mask. 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. I try, if I can, to keep the people that I love around me also safe when I can, when I'm around them."
On the weekend of the Austrian GP, after listening to some of Hamilton's radio communications with his team, the absence of the Mercedes driver's chief engineer, Peter Bonnington, was noted.
Marcus Dudley took his place once again after doing so in the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix where Bonnington had also been absent. The 37 year old did not confirm that the latter had COVID, but the possibilities are there, as he commented "Obviously I didn't have Bono with me this weekend”.
The Mercedes driver emphasised that going back to using the mask is a completely personal decision.