Romain Grosjean has recalled his escape from his fiery crash at the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, revealing he told himself to get out of the wreckage for his children.
Grosjean crashed out on the opening lap of Sunday’s race in Bahrain, hitting the barrier at the exit of Turn 3 at 137 mph, recording a force of more than 50g.
The Haas F1 car tore apart on impact and burst into flames, leaving Grosjean to escape from his cockpit that had become embedded in the barrier.
The Frenchman escaped quickly, suffering only burns to his hands and avoiding any broken bones.
Grosjean will remain in hospital until at least Wednesday and will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, but is hopeful of returning for the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking in his first extended interview since the accident, Grosjean joked that he had “Mickey Mouse’s hands” due to his bandages, but was otherwise fine and had no issue moving.
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Grosjean recalled his immediate thoughts in the accident, conceding that it felt longer than the 28-second period from impact to him getting out of the car.
“I don’t know if the word miracle exists or if it can be used, but in any case I would say it wasn’t my time [to die],” Grosjean told TF1.
“It felt much longer than 28 seconds. I see my visor turning all orange, I see the flames on the left side of the car.
“I thought about a lot of things, including Niki Lauda, and I thought that it wasn’t possible to end up like that, not now. I couldn’t finish my story in Formula 1 like that.
“And then, for my children, I told myself that I had to get out. I put my hands in the fire, so I clearly felt it burning on the chassis.
“I got out, then I felt someone pulling on the suit, so I knew I was out.”
Grosjean revealed that his five-year-old son, Simon, believes he has “magical powers” and that he has a “magical love shield” that protected him.
“These are very strong words from the children,” Grosjean said.
“My eldest, Sacha, who is seven years old, is more rational, he tries to understand.
“And my little one has drawn a picture, ‘for daddy’s sores on his hands’.”
Grosjean acknowledged he would likely need to discuss the trauma of such a dramatic accident as he feared he would be killed.
“I was more afraid for my family and friends, obviously my children who are my greatest source of pride and energy, than for myself in the end,” Grosjean said.
“I think there’s going to be some psychological work to be done, because I really saw death coming.
“Even in Hollywood, we’re not able to do images like that. It’s the biggest crash I’ve ever seen in my life.
“The car catching fire, exploding, and the battery that burst into flames too, so it added a lot of energy to the impact.”
Grosjean gave thanks for the messages he had received, but said again that he was eager to be back in the car in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“I would say that there is a feeling of being happy to be alive, of seeing things differently,” Grosjean said.
“But also there is the need to get back in the car, if possible in Abu Dhabi, to finish my story with Formula One in a different way.
“It was almost like a second birth. To come out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever.
“I have a lot of people who have shown me love and it has touched me a lot, and at times I get a bit teary-eyed.”
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