Mercedes say Lewis Hamilton’s health is “improving” – but still do not know whether he will be able to race in the year’s final grand prix this weekend.

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton tested positive for coronavirus last Tuesday, the champion has been in quarantine for the past week for his recovery in his hotel in Bahrain, which ends on Thursday.

George Russell stepped in as his temporary replacement for last week’s Sakhir GP.

In a message posted on Twitter, Hamilton said: “Hi everyone. I hope you are all well.

“I know I’ve not been in touch this past week but it’s definitely been one of the hardest weeks that I’ve had for some time. Just been focusing on recovering and trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race the final race in Abu Dhabi.

“I woke up today feeling great and got my first workout in so I just wanted to send you guys a message of positivity and let you know I’m ok, and thank every single one of you for sending the amazing messages and videos. I really appreciate it.”

Hamilton’s return would mean Russell would not get a second chance to drive the Mercedes W11 this weekend. The Williams driver shone on his maiden Mercedes race, taking second on the grid and leading until Mercedes’ double-stacked pitstop and a puncture ruined his chance of taking a brilliant victory.

To compete in Abu Dhabi GP Hamilton could possibly fly to Abu Dhabi is Thursday, and practice at the Yas Marina circuit starts on Friday.

The regulations will make it very problematic for the currently-quarantined Hamilton to be able to compete in Abu Dhabi, even if he tests negative in the coming days.

But Hamilton could conceivably return to action as late as Saturday’s qualifying session, as F1 rules state that drivers can compete in the Grand Prix if they have participated in at least one practice session that weekend, of which qualifying is included.

Hamilton has so far taken 11 wins and 10 pole positions this year, with five career Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victories under his belt.

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