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Romain Grosjean narrowly escapes death in Bahrain F1 Grand Prix crash
29 November 2020, 15:30 | Updated: 29 November 2020, 19:05
Formula One driver Romain Grosjean has narrowly avoided death and serious injury after crashing in a fireball inferno in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
He managed to escape the vehicle -which was ripped in two - after smashing into the barrier and is understood to have suffered burns to his legs.
Grosjean, 34, scrambled to get of his burning car for almost half-a-minute before eventually leaping away from the inferno and into the arms of Formula One doctor, Englishman Ian Roberts, one of the first men on the scene.
Replays showed that Grosjean moved to his right, before hitting the front-left wheel of Daniil Kvyat's AlphaTauri, and penetrating the steel barrier at close to 140mph.
The force of the impact, which registered at 53G, split his machine in two.
His cockpit instantly burst into flames and the sport held its breath as television cameras cut away from the extraordinary accident and the race was immediately stopped.
Truly an unbelievable scene. A car split in half, bursting into flames, the medical car immediately arriving, extinguishers out in seconds, and Grosjean emerges from the flames. Miraculous. pic.twitter.com/mbPu9lElVp— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) November 29, 2020
After a number of minutes, Grosjean's Haas team reported that their driver was out of the cockpit. He was then pictured sitting in the medical car before limping towards an ambulance, aided by Roberts and medical car driver Alan Van Der Merwe.
He had leapt out of his burning machine with his racing boot missing from his left foot.
Grosjean has since been airlifted to the BDF Military Hospital, 10 miles north of the Bahrain International Circuit, with burns to his hands and ankles and suspected broken ribs. It is also understood he might have broken a bone in his foot.
Lewis Hamilton, who was leading the race, was seen shaking his head as he watched a replay of the jaw-dropping accident from inside the Mercedes garage.
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. Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we've taken for Romain to walk away from that safely https://t.co/dG8AXmsbKN— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 29, 2020
Seven-time world champion Hamilton tweeted while the race was suspended: "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.
"Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we've taken for Romain to walk away from that safely."
There will now be question marks as to how Grosjean's car managed to penetrate a steel barrier.
A delay of more than an hour ensued as track officials repaired the destroyed barrier.
We are so thankful that Romain Grosjean was able to walk away from this. We did not need a reminder of the bravery and brilliance of our drivers, marshals, and medical teams, nor of the advances in safety in our sport, but we truly got one today#BahrainGP 🇧🇭 #F1 pic.twitter.com/z8OeTU5Nem— Formula 1 (@F1) November 29, 2020
It was confirmed that the race will restart at 18:35 local time, one hour and 21 minutes after it was red-flagged.
South African Van Der Merwe praised the safety measures the sport has taken.
"We just took a little time to process what was going on," he said.
"I am sure it was only a second or so but it felt like ages and then Romain started to get out of the car himself which was pretty amazing after an accident like that.
"There was some relief when we got back here and he was OK.
"It just goes to show that all the systems we developed worked hand-in-hand, the halo, the barriers, the seat belt, everything worked how it should and without just one of those things it could have been a very different outcome."