F1 driver Sergio Perez will race in Spain after negative COVID-19 test

F1 Sergio Perez returns
Photo by XPB/xpbimages.com/AFP via Getty Images

MONTMELO, Spain — Sergio Perez returns at the F1 Spanish Grand Prix this week after testing negative for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

His team said on Thursday that governing body FIA cleared him to return to the paddock for the race in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona.

The Racing Point driver missed the past two races at Silverstone in England after contracting the virus on a visit back home to Mexico last month. He flew by private plane to visit his mother in hospital.

“I’ve definitely missed racing and it was hard to watch from the outside,” Perez said Wednesday before learning the results of his negative test, according to the F1 website. “I can’t wait to get on track.

“I’m very lucky that I’ve only had mild symptoms, so I’ve been able to keep training and make sure that I’m ready to jump back behind the wheel of the car. I’m very glad I had my tablet to keep me entertained too, though.”

Nico Hulkenberg, the veteran German driver who replaced Perez at Silverstone, had been on standby for the third consecutive race.

No other F1 drivers have tested positive for COVID-19 after the first five races of the season.