Australian GP: Lewis Hamilton is 'very surprised' F1 continues amid coronavirus outbreak


Esteban Ocon

Lewis Hamilton says it is "shocking" that Formula 1 has pressed ahead with this weekend's Australian Grand Prix amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
"I am very, very surprised we are here," the world champion said in the official news conference on Thursday.
"It's great we have raced but it's shocking we are sitting in this room."

    Hamilton's comments came as five F1 team members were advised to go into isolation after developing symptoms that could be related to coronavirus.
    The Mercedes driver expressed concerns about the numbers of fans attending the season-opening event and F1's response to the crisis in the wake of other sporting events being called off and increasing travel restrictions around the globe.
    On Wednesday, the NBA basketball season was suspended after a player tested positive and President Donald Trump banned flights from 26 European countries to the United States.
    "[There are] so many fans there and it seems like the rest of the world is reacting - probably a little bit late," Hamilton said.
    "But we are seeing Trump shutting down the borders, the NBA has been suspended yet F1 continues to go on."
    It was said on Wednesday that results of the tests on the five team members - four from Haas and one from McLaren - would be announced within 24 to 72 hours.
    But Hamilton, asked whether the race should be called off if they were positive, expressed cynicism that it would be before race day on Sunday.
    "It is a major decision," he said, "but I heard the result is not going to come back for five days - coincidentally."
    And asked why F1 was continuing, Hamilton said: "Cash is king."
    He added: "I just urge everyone to be as careful as you can be - touching doors; I hope everyone has hand sanitiser.
    "I saw all the fans going on like it was a normal day, but I don't think it is. I really hope we go through the weekend and don't see any fatalities."

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