Lewis Hamilton believes he could be suffering from the after-effects of his COVID-19 diagnosis last year after feeling dizzy and fatigued following the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton fought back from last place to finish on the podium in Hungary after being the only driver to not pit for dry tyres when the race restarted after the red flag period.
The seven-time world champion was “exhausted” as he stood on the rostrum in third place, leading to him being checked over by the Mercedes team doctor.
Hamilton delayed his post-race media commitments while he was assessed for mild dizziness and fatigue, before appearing in the post-race press conference and conducting his other media interviews after feeling better.
Hamilton missed last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix in December due to testing positive for coronavirus, and explained he’s endured a year-long fight to regain his health following the diagnosis.
“I’m just so exhausted afterwards. It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had on the podium,” said Hamilton, as quoted by Motorsport.com
“I had real dizziness and everything got a bit blurry on the podium. I’ve been fighting all year, really, with the health, you know staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year and it’s still… it’s a battle.”
Hamilton admitted he has felt fatigued at other races prior to Hungary, which he suspects could be a result of long COVID where victims suffer from tiredness months afterwards.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone particularly about it but I think it is lingering,” Hamilton said. “I remember the effects of when I had it, and training’s been different since then. The levels of fatigue that you get is different and it’s a real challenge.
“I will just continue to try and train and prepare the best way I can. Maybe it’s hydration, I don’t know, but I’ve definitely not had that experience. I had that something similar in Silverstone but this is way worse.”
Esteban Ocon, who claimed his maiden career victory at the Hungaroring, wasn’t surprised Hamilton felt physically exhausted, believing the conditions and track layout made Sunday’s grand prix “hard”.
“It was really a hard race,” Ocon said. “In general, on this track, with the heat, the humidity, the corners and you get the combination.
“You don’t have a breather here, so you need to really fight the car until the end. I feel flat, I feel completely dead as well. It’s not that Lewis has a certain issue or not, but I tell you, I will have a good sleep tonight as well.”