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Stroll launches vigorous defence of personal Covid decisions

Stroll launches vigorous defence of personal Covid decisions

F1 News

Stroll launches vigorous defence of personal Covid decisions

Stroll launches vigorous defence of personal Covid decisions
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Lance Stroll has vigorously defended his decision not to take an additional Covid-19 test when he felt unwell during the recent Eifel Grand Prix.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer claimed over the weekend at the Nürburgring that Stroll missed qualifying and the race primarily due to him suffering from an upset stomach, but he also stated his driver had flu-like symptoms.

Stroll, however, was only tested pre-event and again when he landed on Sunday in Switzerland, with the result of that test later showing as positive.

While the Canadian and his team have come under scrutiny for their approach to the situation, Stroll delivered a bullish response when questioned ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix, where he will return to action.

“I went into the weekend, tested negative and had clearance to race, and my next scheduled test was in the evening at the end of that weekend,” he said. “I stuck to that plan, with the conclusion from speaking to my doctor.

“I woke up Saturday morning and I had an upset stomach, which was quite bad, so I was not fit to drive Saturday morning. I took the decision to stay away from the track and spoke to my doctor.

“I had the same symptoms after Russia, a stomach issue, and I tested negative twice after the Russian Grand Prix. It was a very similar issue I had on Saturday morning, so I spoke to my doctor, he told me to self isolate.

“He told me they were not Covid symptoms. I was not coughing, I didn’t have a fever, I didn’t have a headache, I just had an upset stomach.

“I flew home the next day on Sunday and took my test that I always take after the race weekend and it was positive on Sunday evening. “

F1 has strict protocols to minimise the risks of Covid-19, similarly Racing Point, with all employees tested twice a week, while anyone travelling to races is tested on their return to the UK.

Stroll only announced on Wednesday his positive test. He also confirmed he had tested negative in a further test at the beginning of this week.

The 21-year-old, whose father Lawrence has also contracted coronavirus but is understood to be feeling fine, reiterated he had done nothing wrong when pressed on the matter.

Asked whether he should have tested again on Saturday at the Nürburgring as an additional precaution, he replied: “Hindsight is a beautiful thing, for sure.

"At the time I didn’t think I had Covid, I’d had the same symptoms in Russia, I wasn’t feeling well and I tested negative twice.

“In Germany, I had an upset stomach, so I didn’t assume it was Covid. Had I guessed I had Covid at that time I should have got tested.

"But like I said, I spoke to my doctor and we came to the conclusion that we didn’t think it was Covid so I got my usual test."

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