Lewis Hamilton said he feared Romain Grosjean could have suffered much worse injuries in his shocking first-lap crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Haas driver has been taken to hospital with minor burns and a suspected rib fracture after striking a barrier with a 53G force on the first lap of the race. The impact broke his VF-20 chassis into two pieces and caused a major fire, which Grosjean extricated himself from.
“It was such a shocking image to see,” said Hamilton, who won the race which was restarted following a delay of almost 90 minutes.
The world champion said he hopes Grosjean’s extraordinary escape reminds people of the dangers of motorsport.
“When I get in the car I know I’m taking risks and I respect the dangers that are in this sport,” he said. “I posted about it whilst I was in that break because it’s horrifying.
“The cockpit, I don’t know what Gs he pulled, but I’m so grateful the Halo worked, I’m grateful the barrier didn’t slice his head off or something like that. It could have been so much worse.
“It’s a reminder to us and hopefully to people that are watching that this is a dangerous sport and that is why we are out there and pushing to the limit and playing with that limit. We all have to respect it.”
Hamilton also praised the FIA’s work in improving safety standards in Formula 1.
“It shows the amazing job that Formula 1 has done [and] the FIA has done over time to be able to walk away from something like that. Of course that will be investigated and they will do a lot of work to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
He admitted he found it difficult to re-focus on the race following the lengthy disruption.
“It really was physically very demanding,” he said. “I think with the break that we had at the beginning – you get into a mindset, you go out, you get a good start and then that 45 [minute] to an hour wait that we had, it’s so easy to step out of the zone. So that was quite tricky.”
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen kept Hamilton within range for much of the race. “They had a lot of speed today,” said Hamilton. “So I was flat-out the whole way trying to keep them at bay.
“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 reply to him when I needed to.
“But I was sliding around out there and I wasn’t sure how it would play out at the end. So I’m massively grateful to my team because they did a great job with the strategy and what a privilege it is to be able to get another result like this.”
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