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Motor racing-Hamilton suspects long COVID after suffering fatigue, dizziness

·2-min read
Hungarian Grand Prix

By Abhishek Takle

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Seven-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said he suspects he has long COVID, after suffering dizziness and fatigue in the aftermath of a hard-fought Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

"Everything got a bit blurry on the podium," said the 36-year-old, who had to be looked over by his Mercedes team doctor after a flat-out charge from last to third around the twisting Hungaroring.

"I've been fighting all year, really, with staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year.

"It’s still a battle."

Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to miss last year's penultimate Sakhir Grand Prix in December.

The Briton was back in action at the final race in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 13, where he finished third after testing negative but reported feeling the after-effects of the disease. On Sunday, he said those effects had lingered.

"I haven’t spoken to anyone particularly about it but I think it is lingering," said Hamilton, who turned an eight-point deficit to Red Bull rival Max Verstappen into a six-point lead with his drive on Sunday.

"I remember when I had it, training’s been different since then, the levels of fatigue that you get, it’s different.

"Who knows what it is today, maybe its hydration, I don’t know. But I’ve definitely not had that experience.

"I had something similar in Silverstone but it's just way worse," added the Briton who took his fourth win of the season at the British track two weeks ago.

The 4.3-kilometre Hungaroring with its constant twists and turns is a physically demanding track. The race is also often hot.

Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas compared his Mercedes cockpit to a Finnish sauna on Friday.

Hamilton said he "gave it everything" in his bid to chase down surprise winner Esteban Ocon, who took his maiden victory, and second-placed four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.

"It was a really hard race in general," said Ocon, sitting alongside Hamilton in the post-race news conference.

"This track with the heat, the humidity, the corners, you don’t have a breather here. I feel flat, I feel completely dead as well. I tell you I will have a good sleep tonight."

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Toby Davis)

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