Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he has been struggling with the symptoms of long COVID after he needed medical attention for dizziness and fatigue in the wake of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion had driven superbly to race from last to third in Sunday’s race – he was then promoted to second after Sebastian Vettel’s post-race disqualification – and regain the lead of the Formula One world championship following a frenetic afternoon at the Hungaroring.
But Hamilton was visibly struggling after the 70-lap race. He was assisted on to the podium, and then appeared unable to summon the strength to hold his celebratory champagne bottle.
Hamilton, who contracted coronavirus in Dubai last December and was ruled out of the subsequent Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, was taken to see the Mercedes team doctor.
A spokesperson for the Silver Arrows said the British driver was suffering with dizziness and fatigue.
Hamilton missed his post-race television interviews, before arriving late to the FIA’s official press conference for the top three finishers.
He said: “I haven’t spoken to anyone particularly about long COVID, but I think it is lingering there.
“I was having real dizziness and everything got a bit blurry on the podium. I have been fighting with staying healthy following what happened at the end of last year, but still it’s a battle.
“I remember the effects of when I had COVID, and training has been different ever since then. The level of fatigue that you get is different and it’s a real challenge.
“I’m trying to keep training and preparing as best I can. Who knows what it was today? Maybe it was hydration, I don’t know, but it was definitely different.”
Hamilton said he also felt unwell during the British Grand Prix a fortnight ago.
He added: “I suffered with something similar (last month) at Silverstone, but today was way worse.”
After the press conference finished, Hamilton sat in his seat alongside the surprise winner of Sunday’s race, Esteban Ocon.
Hamilton was then helped to his feet by the Frenchman and a member of Mercedes’ staff.
The 36-year-old will now have the best part of four weeks away from competition before the next round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on August 29.
Hamilton, who heads into the summer break holding a six-point advantage over Max Verstappen in his quest for a record-breaking eighth title, last year said he felt happy to be alive after battling with COVID-19.
The Briton lost four kilograms as he fought the virus, but rushed back to take part in last season’s concluding round in Abu Dhabi.