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30.11.2020 Europe

Hamilton wins Bahrain Grand Prix as Grosjean survives fireball in 'miracle'

By RFI
TOLGA BOZOGLU POOL/AFP
LISTEN NOV 30, 2020
TOLGA BOZOGLU POOL/AFP

Lewis Hamilton powered to his 95th career F1 victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday in a race overshadowed by Romain Grosjean's crash, which left the Frenchman needing hospital treatment for burns.

Hamilton took the chequered flag ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen during a late safety car intervention, and was quick to compliment the sport's modern safety standards for saving Grosjean whose Haas car broke in two on impact before erupting in flames at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

"It was such a shocking image to see," said Hamilton, who like all of the drivers had a near 90-minute wait for the restart after the horrific opening lap crash. He used the pause to tweet on safety.

"When I get in the car, I know I am taking risks. I respect the dangers that are in this sport. I posted about it during the break because it is horrifying.

"The car, the cockpit. I don't know what Gs he pulled, but I'm just so grateful the 'halo' worked." The halo is the driver protection inner frame which is an obligatory feature of modern F1 racing cars.

Grosjean lost control of his Haas after clipping the front left wheel of Daniil Kvyat's Alpha Tauri, having skewed right in the intense battle for position at Turn Three on the opening lap.

Grosjean's car rammed into the barriers as he braked hard from around 250 km/h, the front part hammering into the steel guardrails which buckled immediately.

Grosjean was trapped in his cockpit, flew under the steel barrier as it gave way and his car burst into flames.

Observers suggested his car's safety halo had saved his life as he careered through the ruptured barrier, the device lifting the metal rails clear of his head. F1's chief medical officer Dr Ian Roberts and his medical car driver Alan van der Merwe joined track marshals with fire extinguishers and helped the driver to escape.

"Hello everyone, just wanted to say I'm okay, well, sort of okay," said Grosjean from his hospital bed in a video posted on social media.

"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 we brought to Formula 1 and without it I wouldn't be able to speak to you today," he added.

The device was proposed and created in the aftermath of the death of Jules Bianchi in 2015 from head injuries sustained in a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Grosjean extricated himself from his blazing wreck and climbed through flames to leap a barrier to safety with Roberts' help.

"It was scary," Verstappen said. "We saw a red flag, which doesn't mean it's immediately a bad thing. I saw a lot of fire and I thought that is not a good thing, but luckily he is okay."

Grosjean was taken to hospital with burns to his hands.

Race director and safety delegate Michael Masi promised a full investigation into Grosjean's crash.

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