Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean has incredibly walked away from a fiery crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix with just minor burns to his hands and ankles.
In the opening lap of the race, with Canadian driver Lance Stroll in front of him crashing out into gravel, Grosjean veered right in the congestion, clipping a Daniil Kvyat’s front wheel before veering sharply into the barrier in an explosion of flame and fuel.
The force and angle at which Grosjean hit the metal barrier cut his car in half, sending the back half of the car flying off while the front half, with Grosjean inside, got wedged in the barrier.
The driver was in the burning cockpit for several seconds before finally getting free. Grosjean was escorted to an ambulance and appeared to be limping. He was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs.
“[Grosjean] is doing OK,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told Sky Sports.
“He’s seems to be OK and the rescue was very quick. The marshals and FIA did a great job. It was very scary.
“We were lucky by being unlucky. He got away with it, I think.
“It looked like he went across the track with the front wheel and went full speed in the barrier. But I’ve only seen what you guys have seen.”
The crash prompted a long red-flag delay to the race as crews worked frantically to clear the mess of debris and repair the barrier.
An FIA spokesman said the impact of Grosjean’s crash was measured at 53G.
With drivers sitting in the garage contemplating Grosjean’s near miss, reigning champion Lewis Hamilton said on Twitter it was a reminder that drivers put their lives on the line every time they go out on the F1 track.
“I’m so grateful Romain is safe. Wow … the risk we take is no joke, for those of you out there that forget that we put our life on the line for this sport and for what we love to do,” he said.
“Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we’ve taken for Romain to walk away from that safely.”