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Perez waiting on COVID test for clearance to race

August 06, 2020 23:05 IST
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Sergio Perez

IMAGE: Racing Point's Sergio Perez is the first F1 driver to test positive since the pandemic-hit season started this month. Photograph: Kind courtesy Sergio Perez/Twitter

Mexican Sergio Perez was waiting for the go-ahead to race in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after ending quarantine for COVID-19 on Thursday.

Perez missed last weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone after having to self-isolate but the team said in a statement that Public Health England had confirmed the period had been completed.

 

“Sergio requires a verified negative test result for COVID-19 before he can enter the paddock,” Racing Point said. “The testing process is taking place today.”

Perez tested positive after returning to Mexico by private plane to be with his mother, who had suffered an accident and was in hospital, after last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Racing Point said they expected to make a decision later on Thursday or before practice starts on Friday on who would partner Canadian Lance Stroll for Sunday’s race.

Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg, without a regular drive this season after being dropped by Renault at the end of 2019, filled in for Perez last weekend and appeared in a scheduled news conference with Stroll on Thursday.

The German qualified 13th for the last race but was unable to take his place after the car failed to start in the garage due to a sheared bolt.

He told reporters that missing out again would “of course be somewhat disappointing after having been back in the car and getting a taste of it.

“But obviously it was always clear that I come in as a temporary replacement for Checo (Perez) not knowing if its one race, two races or what. He’s the main driver and whenever he’s good to race again he’ll be back.”

F1 champions Mercedes confirm Bottas for 2021

Valtteri Bottas looked forward to fighting for the Formula One world championship again next season after Mercedes announced on Thursday that the Finn would be racing for them until at least the end of 2021.

The news was expected, with champions Mercedes having made clear they intended to retain the 30-year-old Finn for a fifth successive season in what is likely to be an unchanged lineup.

Mercedes are also expected to continue with six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who is out of contract at the end of the year.

“I’m confident that we have the strongest driver pairing in F1 today and signing Valtteri is an important first step in retaining this strength for the future,” said team boss Toto Wolff in a statement ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

“Valtteri is a hard-working, straightforward guy who has a good relationship with the entire team including his team-mate, which is not a given when both drivers are fighting for the championship.”

Hamilton is leading Bottas by 30 points after four races and is going for his fourth successive victory on Sunday when Silverstone hosts a grand prix for the second weekend in a row.

Bottas, overall runner-up in 2019, won last month’s delayed season-opener in Austria. The Finn has won eight races with Mercedes since joining from Williams in 2017.

“The past few years have been all about continuous improvement, working on every aspect of my performance. I’m confident that today I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, but I can always raise the bar,” he said.

“I’m in the fight for the title this year and staying with Mercedes puts me in the best possible position to compete for it next season as well.”

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