The world of motor racing was left breathing a sigh of relief following the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday as Romain Grosjean survived a horrendous crash on the opening lap of the race.
With cars in front of him squabbling for position, the Frenchman tried to move to the right. Unfortunately, that led to contact and the 34-year-old hit the barrier at high speed. He went through it at 137mph; the impact was also a massive 53G. His car split in half as the part he was in burst into flames.
Remarkably, Grosjean managed to escape the inferno as the medical team and marshals did an incredible job as well to help the Haas driver as soon as they could. He was helped away to the medical car. Luckily, he never lost consciousness and could walk to the vehicle.
Dr Ian Roberts and F1 Medical Car driver Alan van der Merwe discuss those crucial few seconds following @RGrosjean's crash in Bahrain— Formula 1 (@F1) November 29, 2020
An amazing response by all involved #BahrainGP 🇧🇭 #F1 pic.twitter.com/oY2TDffBR3
After getting taken to hospital, we found out Grosjean had sustained burns to the back of his hands.
On his Instagram account, the Frenchman thanked everyone for their messages and said he was extremely grateful to the halo for saving his life. The safety device introduced in 2018 played a huge role in protecting him.
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"Hello everyone, I just wanted to say I am OK... well, sort of OK,’’ said Grosjean. Thank you very much for all the messages. I wasn't for the halo some years ago, but I think it's the greatest thing that we've brought to Formula 1, and without it I wouldn't be able to speak with you today.
"So thanks to all the medical staff at the circuit, at the hospital, and hopefully I can write you quite soon some messages and tell you how it's going."
Teammate Kevin Magnussen was so happy to see Grosjean survive his crash and called it a ''miracle.''
“Firstly, I’m just very, very happy to see Romain walk away from that crash – it was unbelievable. To see him survive that is frankly a miracle. I’m so happy that the halo was introduced, and it was on his car. Without it I’m sure it would have been very different. That’s really all from me today. I’m just happy that we’ve still got Romain.”
What a shock to the system it was to see my friend and team mate @RGrosjean in this horrible crash today. What a legend he is for making it out of the car, pinned under the guardrails, covered in fire. Hope you have a speedy recovery mate.— Kevin Magnussen (@KevinMagnussen) November 29, 2020
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner realised the enormity of the incident as he said the sport got fortunate and lucky today.
“We got fortunate today. The good news is that Romain is doing well considering what happened. We are thankful for all the safety advancements in modern Formula 1 in order to protect the drivers. We send a thank you to the FIA safety team and the marshals who were on-site immediately to help Romain get away from the scene. As I said, I think we got lucky – there’s not a lot more to say. We hope Romain will recover quickly from the injuries he sustained.”
Steiner hasn’t ruled out Grosjean returning to the car for the second race at Sakhir next Sunday, although they have to wait and see what the doctors say.
"Knowing him, he wants to be back, but we'll see that tomorrow when they take the bandages off because he has no idea what they look like," Steiner said.
"For me at the moment, the only good thing is, nothing bad happened. For sure it wasn't good, but he's safe, he's healthy.
"The rest we'll see tomorrow when we speak with the doctors."
We want to again thank Dr. Ian Roberts, Alan van der Merwe, circuit marshals and medics for acting so bravely and swiftly today 🙏 pic.twitter.com/FPxSxjD3ry— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 29, 2020