Formula 1 returned to Bahrain for the 3rd-to-last round of the season, and it was a thriller. Lewis Hamilton's win and Alex Albon's second career podium was overshadowed by a scary, fiery crash on the opening lap.
Grosjean Survives Deadly Crash
Romain Grosjean survived one of the scariest crashes in the modern era. On the first lap, he tried to cut across the front of Daniil Kyvat, and ended up making contact with Kvyat's front left tyre, sending him flying into the metal barrier. The impact cut his car in half, meaning that the fuel spilled out, causing a giant blaze.
Luckily, the F1 Medical Car, which is supposed to follow the drivers during the first lap, was right there and pulled to a stop. Dr. Ian Roberts nearly dove into the flames to rescue Grosjean as Medical Car driver Alan van der Merwe was standing back, spraying the flames with a fire extinguisher. Track marshals flooded to scene with fire extinguishers and sand, trying to stop the fire. When Grosjean emerged from the flames, he was trapped and ended up having to touch the burning metal barrier to hoist himself over the barrier and into Roberts' arms.
Roberts found that Grosjean's visor was completely melted, meaning without Roberts' help, Grosjean would of died because of he couldn't see through the melted visor. After, Roberts sat a shocked Grosjean in the backseat of the medical car, sending him off to the medical center before an ambulance took him to the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital. Sky Sports' cameras showed that Grosjean had spent over 20 seconds in the flames, likely to undo his seatbelt, radio wire, drinking straw, headrest, steering wheel, and other things blocking his way out.
Notice that the 2017 cars look slightly different from the ones we see in 2020. That's because of the addition of the halo. The halo is basically bars that block your face and protect you from crashes. It received negative feedback at first, after drivers complained it blocked their view of the track. After Leclerc's crash in 2019, no drivers were criticizing the use of the halo anymore. Without the halo, Grosjean would of been smashed to the barrier, instead of the halo protecting Grosjean.
After spending Sunday night in the hospital, Grosjean will be released from the hospital on Tuesday. He has no broken bones, after Haas team principal Guenther Steiner stated that he had at least one suspected broken rib, but has burns on the back of his hands.
Grosjean posted this photo on his Instagram Monday morning. He seems fine in good spirits. As you can see, his handed are bandaged up.
He stated that he is sort of okay and has been treated well at the hospital.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner announced Monday that Grosjean will sit out the Sakhir Grand Prix, simply for him to make a recovery and race again. Grosjean, who is set to leave Haas after this season, does not have a seat for 2021. The 34 year old driver is looking at a FIA World Endurance Championship seat.
Steiner also announced that team reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will make his F1 debut next week at the Sakhir Grand Prix. Fittipaldi has not driven the 2020 car yet, although he drove the 2018 and 2019 cars before and attended most of the races this season. Pietro will be fourth member of the Fittipaldi family to race in F1, as his grandfather, Emerson, a 2-time F1 world champion, and his grandfather's brother Wilson, plus Wilson's son, Christian have all raced in the sport before.
Lewis Hamilton won the race, with Max Verstappen in second and Alex Albon in third, the first time both Red Bulls have been on the podium since 2018. Sergio Perez was coasting to a third place finish when his engine failed and he retired with a fire at the back of his car. Perez caused a late safety car, meaning the race ended under the safety car for the second Bahrain GP in a row. Perez's retirement meant a swing in the constructors championship, as Lance Stroll was flipped upside-down after making contact with Daniil Kyvat on the red flag restart.
We all wish Romain Grosjean a fast and speedy recovery so he can race in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, likely his last race in his F1 career. Get well Romain!