Romain Grosjean suffered minor burns and suspected broken ribs but was in a stable condition after his car smashed through safety barriers at the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix on the opening lap, bringing the race to a halt.
The Frenchman’s Haas car was ripped in half and engulfed in flames as it speared through protective barriers immediately after the start, following contact with the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat.
The impact was measured at over 50G, according to a spokesman for the sport’s governing FIA.
“[Romain] is stable and being taken by helicopter to the MDF MC Military Hospital for further evaluation,” the governing body said.
WATCH | Massive crash at Bahrain Grand Prix splits F1 car in half:
A spokesman for Grosjean’s Haas team said the 34-year-old had suffered minor burns on his hands and ankles and had one or more suspected broken ribs.
Grosjean clambered out of his car with the fire roaring behind him and his race helmet singed.
The moment <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/RomainGrosjean?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RomainGrosjean</a> got out of the car. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#F1</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BahrainGP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BahrainGP</a> <a href=”https://t.co/gRG47tlT0g”>pic.twitter.com/gRG47tlT0g</a>
Moments later, Grosjean was shown on television chatting with the race doctor in the medical car and then helped into an ambulance.
WATCH | Romain Grosjean escapes car after crash at Bahrain GP:
Drivers and team members stood and applauded as they saw the images of Grosjean climbing over the barrier to safety and being sprayed with a fire extinguisher.
‘The risk we take is no joke’
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton expressed his relief on Twitter while waiting for the race to restart.
“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,” Hamilton wrote. “Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we’ve taken for Romain to walk away from that safely.”
It appeared an extraordinary escape after Grosjean’s car was sliced in half upon impact with the barrier.
The accident happened when Grosjean lost grip and slid to the right, where his back wheel clipped the front of Daniil Kvyat’s Alpha-Tauri and he flew off into the barrier.
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.
Officials worked quickly to build a makeshift crash barrier where the old one was destroyed.
The race restarted about 1 1/2 hours later with the positions of the drivers when the crash happened. Hamilton was leading, ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Extraordinary images of the Romain Grosjean accident.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SkyF1?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#SkyF1</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#F1</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BahrainGP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BahrainGP</a> 🇧🇭 <a href=”https://t.co/4F9oDRNLgs”>pic.twitter.com/4F9oDRNLgs</a>