Sir Lewis Hamilton has decided to return to wearing a mask after seeing a number of people close to him fall ill with COVID-19.
In the United Kingdom, the seven-day average number of cases has gone up by over 11,000 in the last month as more and more people begin to fall ill with new strains of the virus.
Hamilton has contracted COVID on two occasions, and had to miss the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020 as a result of his first case.
He revealed that some of the people he has spoken to have been getting some pretty horrible symptoms and, with monkeypox also entering Europe recently, the seven-time champion wants to do all he can to protect others.
“I noticed a lot of people around me are getting sick and I definitely don’t want to get sick again,” said Hamilton.
“I’ve already experienced it twice 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.”
In a lot of countries, wearing a mask is now a personal choice, so Hamilton reiterated that he is not demanding that people make the same choice as him.
“No one’s wearing a mask so I’m definitely wearing my mask; I urge people to do what they want to do,” he added.
“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.”
Hamilton suspected last year that he was suffering from long-COVID, during which the symptoms having had the virus stick around for a lengthy period of time.
This can include random tiredness, brain fog and muscular fatigue, the latter of which being particularly difficult when trying to train.
The seven-time champion was visibly struggling on the podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2021, and he explained that he had been feeling the effects all year.
“I had real big dizziness and everything got a bit blurry on the podium,” he said in the press conference after Esteban Ocon’s famous win for Alpine.
“I’ve been fighting all year with staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year. It’s a battle.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone particularly about it, but I think it is lingering.
“I remember the effects of when I had it and training’s been different since then.
“The levels of fatigue you get is different and it’s a real challenge, as I said, so I’m just continuing to try and train and prepare the best way I can.”
Hamilton has been on the podium in all of the last three rounds of the season in Canada, Britain and Austria, with team principal Toto Wolff also expecting Hamilton and Russell to go well in France next weekend.