Lewis Hamilton has urged fans to stay safe as the coronavirus pandemic continues to claim lives across the globe.
Lewis Hamilton hopes his fans are all staying safe as the coronavirus pandemic rages on and continues to see sporting events cancelled. This weekend’s Australian Grand Prix was axed just hours before free practice was due to start on Friday following crunch talks in Melbourne.
F1 chiefs and team principals were forced to make a decision after McLaren withdrew from the race when a member of their team tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
Hamilton’s rivals Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen weren’t taking any chances, hotfooting it out of Australia before the cancellation of the Grand Prix was made official.
Hamilton opted to stick around, however, and on Saturday morning posted pictures of himself going indoor rock climbing on Twitter.
The 35-year-old Mercedes driver admitted he was disappointed not to be gearing up for Sunday’s cancelled race and urged fans to take care.
“Gutted to not be qualifying today,” Hamilton tweeted. “I decided to stick around Melbourne and go indoor rock climbing. It’s a great way for me to keep focused.
“I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have been sending me such positive messages. Hope you are all staying safe.”
Hamilton was a vocal critic of F1 chiefs before they decided to pull the plug on the Australian Grand Prix, saying it was “shocking” everyone was in Melbourne for it with coronavirus threatening lives the world over.
He revealed his backing of the call to cancel the race on Instagram, writing: “Sadly, this is the right decision. No one wants this, we all want to get in our cars and get racing, but we have to be realistic and we must put health and safety first.
“The reality is, this is serious with people dying every day, lots of people ill and even if they are not ill, many people are being affected financially and emotionally.
“No one really knows the extent of what we are dealing with, but we should all take precautions to keep as many people safe as possible.
“I know it’s disappointing, as sport unites us when times are tough, but it’s the right call. Listen to the advice, everyone, and keep safe. Hope to be back racing soon, but in the meantime, take care of yourselves.”
Hamilton faces a wait to get back behind the wheel of his Mercedes W11, with the upcoming Bahrain, Vietnam and Chinese Grands Prix all cancelled and F1 chiefs now hoping to start the 2020 season in May.