Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has insisted Lewis Hamilton is "absolutely good enough to race" in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite underlying fitness issues after recently contracting Covid-19.
The seven-time F1 champion returned to the paddock for the season finale in Abu Dhabi after spending 10 days in self-isolation, but following qualifying the 35-year-old has confirmed he still has breathing issues and has lost weight.
Despite commenting during the isolation period his driver was "not in a good place," Wolff was adamant Hamilton is in shape to take the start at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Asked whether Hamilton was ideally fit enough to compete, Wolff said: "Well, a race driver is obviously keen to return to the race car, even if he isn't 100 per cent.
"I think as expected, after 10 days of Covid-19, you are not going to be on your A-game but I think absolutely good enough to race."
Hamilton's comments had raised concerns, with many wondering the logic behind allowing him to race when feeling ill effects after suffering from Covid, and with nothing on the line.
Hamilton said: "I still have some feeling within my lungs. Normally I would drive even if one of my arms were hanging off, that's what we do as racing drivers. Luckily that's not the case.
"I lost a good amount of weight in that week so I'm not 100 per cent the same as the last time I raced, but it's by no means going to get in the way of me going out and giving it my all."
Wolff said he would not take it out of his driver's hands as to whether he could race or not, suggesting Hamilton is mature enough to make his own decisions.
"I think it is his call to decide if he is fit enough or not," he explained. "He is a very experienced driver, he knows very well about his health and he has been tested negative.
"Sometimes, drivers are not perfectly well but still race. I think this is the situation."
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