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Nikita Mazepin out of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19

Nikita Mazepin out of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19

Haas team driver Nikita Mazepin will miss out on the grand finale of this year's Formula One season in Abu Dhabi after testing positive for Covid-19, Haas officials reported on Sunday. The Russian rookie will not be replaced and Haas will only race his teammate Mick Schumacher in the evening race.

Formula One's rules prevent any driver from racing, who has not competed in at least one of the sessions beforehand.

"Nikita is physically well, having been asymptomatic, but he will now self-isolate and adhere to the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for all parties concerned," the American team's statement said. Formula One recently rolled back bubble regulations to allow fans into the grandstands, although strict testing and mask wearing is encouraged.

He is the 8th driver to have tested positive for Covid-19 this year following the likes of Kimi Raikonnen, who will be retiring at the end of this season. His teammate Antonio Giovinazzi is also leaving F1 to join Formula E following his replacement by Chinese F2 driver Guanyo Zhou.

The Abu Dhabi GP is ramping up excitement with one of two historic possibilities at the end of the race: Hamilton's record-breaking 8th Championship title which would put him ahead of Michael Schumacher or Verstappen's maiden World Championship title which would break the Mercedes streak in the turbo-hybrid era of F1.

Max Verstappen qualified in pole position on Saturday after a fantastic tow manoeuvre pulled by his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez which allowed him to catch Perez' slipstream and set the fastest time of 1 minute and 25.009 seconds. Hamilton qualified in second place and Perez in third, while Hamilton's teammate Valterri Bottas could only manage sixth after engine issues.

Hamilton and Verstappen are tied at 369.5 points after the Mercedes driver's win at the debut Jeddah Grand Prix last weekend.

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TAGS:Grand Prix Abudhabi Formula One Lewis Hamilton Sports Updates 
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