Bahrain Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton said Romain Grosjean’s ‘horrifying’ crash could’ve been worse, if not fatal, without the halo to protect him.
Grosjean’s Haas exploded into flames after a high-speed crash into the barriers on the opening lap speared the front of the car through the Armco while the rear was ripped off. The Frenchman was able to undo his seatbelts and quickly extract himself from the car reportedly only suffering minor burns and a possible broken rib or ribs.
Grosjean was checked at the track medical centre before being taken to hospital by helicopter. Hamilton said that if not for the safety efforts by the FIA, and especially the halo, the outcome could have been much more tragic.
“It was such a shocking image to see,” said Hamilton. “And when I get in the car, I know that I’m taking a risk and I respect the dangers that are in this sport. I posted about it while I was in that break, because it’s horrifying. His car, the cockpit, I don’t know what Gs he pulled but I’m just so grateful that the halo worked, grateful that the barrier didn’t slice his head off or something like that, it could’ve been so much worse.
“I think it’s a reminder to us, and hopefully to the people that are watching, this is a dangerous sport. That is why we are out there pushing to the limit and playing with that limit, but you also have to respect it. I think it’s an amazing job that Formula 1 has done, the FIA have done over time, to be able to walk away from something like that. Of course that’ll be investigated and they will do a lot of work to try and make sure that that doesn’t happen again.”
After a lengthy, almost 90 minute, race stoppage to clear the Haas and the damaged barrier, the Grand Prix resumed and Hamilton from the restart to the chequered flag. The British driver said that despite that, it was a tough race both physically and mentally.
“It really was physically very demanding,” Hamilton continued. “I think with the break that we had at the beginning, you know you get into a mindset, you go out, you get a good start but then that 45 to an hour wait that we had, it’s so easy to step out of the zone. So that was quite tricky.”
Mercedes’ closest rival today was Max Verstappen and Hamilton said they did push him the whole way: “[The Red Bulls] had a lot of speed today, so I was flat out the whole way trying to keep them at bay. It’s physical, this track has always been physical. You’ve got lots of high-speed corners so I was definitely feeling it.
“I managed to just about keep replying to him when I needed to but I was sliding around a lot out there and I wasn’t really sure how it would play out at the end. I’m massively grateful, thankful to my team because they, at the end of the day, did the great job with the strategy and what a privilege it is to be able to get another result like this.”