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JONATHAN McEVOY: F1 is gripped by the mystery of how Hamilton contracted Covid

How did the germ-freak Lewis Hamilton contract Covid?

That is the question gripping the Formula One contingent away in Bahrain – with Mercedes super-sensitive about the issue. The world championship team’s hapless PR department is not even answering basic questions, which serves only to fuel the intrigue.

Perhaps he was struck with the virus around the time he was recording a video, seemingly last Wednesday, of him dancing as he sat in a car while not wearing a mask with his father Anthony (masked) alongside him and pal Daniel ‘Spinz’ Forrest (also masked) in the back.

Lewis Hamilton has returned two positive coronavirus tests and now is in isolation. Here he is pictured after winning in Bahrain

Maybe with the title wrapped up, he let his guard down as well as his face-covering off in the confined space of the car.

What has been confirmed is that a ‘contact’ he met before arriving in Bahrain last week has also tested positive – Mercedes are not revealing who that is but it may well be one of the two people with whom he shared the lift (though who knows who else he came into contact with?)

Has Hamilton broken Formula One’s strict bubbling rules?

Apparently not, as he is free to act as he wishes, meet whom he wants, away from the race track, subject to national Covid-related laws.

It is understood that his team are now re-testing several of their personnel who have come into contact with their star driver, while his trainer Angela Cullen is also believed to be in self-isolation, though Mercedes refused to confirm this.

Hamilton won his seventh Formula One title on November 15 in Turkey before returning home to Monaco the same evening. The next day, he filmed himself going for a run along the beach and said that he was feeling 'blessed and grateful'

On November 22, Hamilton posted a video on Instagram of him playing tennis with his dad and revealed how they have both been working hard at getting better at the sport

Hamilton was pictured in Corsica in September as he spent time on Sir Philip Green’s £100million superyacht Lionheart

In a statement on Instagram, Hamilton said on Tuesday: 'Hi guys. I'm devastated that I won't be racing this weekend.

'Since we started the season in June, my team and I have been taking all the precautions we possible can and following the regulations everywhere we've been in order to stay safe.

'Unfortunately, even though I returned three negative results this past week, I woke up yesterday morning with mild symptoms and requested another test which came back positive. I've immediately gone into self-isolation for 10 days. 

'I'm gutted not to be able to race this weekend but my priority is to follow the protocols and advice to protect others. 

'I'm really lucky that I feel ok with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy.

'Please look after yourselves out there, you can never be too careful. These are worrying times for everyone and we need to make sure we are looking after ourselves and each other. Stay positive.' 

In a statement on Instagram, Hamilton said he is 'gutted not to be able to race this weekend'

The world champion is now the third Formula One driver to have tested positive for Covid-19

As for the procedure, F1’s travelling entourage of 1,200 are tested before travelling and always within 24 hours of arriving at the track ahead of a grand prix.

Everyone is then tested every five days during the race period or when staying out between back-to-back races such as last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and this Sunday’s Sakhir race, also in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

At races Hamilton has kept himself to himself, as his wont anyway, and that has meant confining himself to regular, close contact with Cullen and Man Friday Marc Hynes – as well as pet bulldog Roscoe. This is called his ‘sub-bubbles’.

He even communicates with his engineers, at least some of the time, via Zoom.

But away from the track, he holidayed with controversial fashion tycoon Sir Philip Green and model Florence Mueller in September. He was pictured in Corsica on Green’s £100million superyacht Lionheart, replete with 15 crew cabins and 12 guest rooms.

It seems the Mercedes driver has not broken Formula One's strict coronavirus rules though

Here in Bahrain, as at every other race this year, I am in a sub-bubble with one other journalist and a wider bubble with the 30 or so other reporters on site.

The two of us eat and travel together. Very cosy.

I have been subject to some 30 swabbing tests – a bud up my nostrils and down my throat. That is the price of travelling in these troubled times and this sort of constant vigilance has allowed Formula One to stop rare outbreaks spreading.

The virus can be localised, such as when Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll missed a total of three races with Covid. A small section of their team was isolated and the circus went on.

Just as it should again this time, as Hamilton sits in his five-star hotel room away from the fray.

Sportsmail has contacted Hamilton for comment while Mercedes refused to comment.

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