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F1 driver Romain Grosjean escapes with just minor injuries after car crashes and explodes into fireball in Bahrain Grand Prix


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, Haas driver Grosjean veered right in the congestion, clipping 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 34-year-old driver was in the burning cockpit for several seconds before finally getting free.

Race footage showed safety officials reaching the car immediately but with Grosjean still trapped inside.

Marshals use a hose to try to put out a fire burning fiercely in a F1 car in Bahrain.
Romain Grosjean’s Formula One car burned fiercely after crashing through a barrier on lap one in Bahrain.(AFP/DPPI)

He managed to find a way out and jumped through the flames and gripped the extremely hot metal barrier as he jumped over back onto the track, shaking his hands in agony before being helped by the stewards.

Governing body FIA said Grosjean was taken by helicopter to a military hospital and was in a stable condition.

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“[Grosjean] is doing OK,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told Sky Sports.

“He 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.”

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‘I have never seen so much fire’

The crash at the floodlit Sakhir track 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.

F1 medical driver Alan van der Merwe, one of the first on the scene, said it was amazing to see Grosjean trying to get out after an accident of that magnitude.

Flames seen from the crash scene after Haas' Romain Grosjean crashed out
Romain Grosjean’s car exploded in a fireball when he crashed out at the start of the race.(Reuters: Kamran Jebreili)

“It was a big surprise. I have never seen so much fire. We took a moment or so to process,” he said.

“Romain started getting out, which was amazing after an accident like that. There was some relief when we got back here and he was OK.

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.”

Grosjean’s teammate Kevin Magnussen looked distressed when he saw the footage as drivers waited in the paddock for the race to restart, while officials returned to the site of the crash to pick up debris littered around the destroyed car.

Stewards attempt to clear the car of Haas' Romain Grosjean from the track following a crash
Stewards attempt to clear the car of Haas’ Romain Grosjean from the track following a crash.(Reuters: Hamad I Mohammed)

Hamilton wins after restart

The race was halted for an hour and 20 minutes as track workers repaired the barriers.

Drama ensued immediately at the restart when Stroll’s Racing Point was flipped upside down after contact with Kvyat. The Canadian climbed out unscathed and the safety car was deployed so his car could be removed.

The race settled into a procession when it eventually resumed for good, with champion Lewis Hamilton unchallenged on his way to his fourth win in Bahrain.

The win, from pole position, was the 95th of seven-times world champion Hamilton’s career and came with the safety car leading the field to the chequered flag.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished second with Thai teammate Alexander Albon completing the podium after inheriting third place from Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who suffered a blown engine three laps from the end.

Hamilton, who clinched the title in Turkey two weeks ago, has now won the last five races and 11 of the 15 so far this season.

ABC/wires



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