Motorsport: Romain Grosjean survives terrifying, fiery crash at Bahrain Grand Prix

Romain Grosjea is being treated in hospital for burns after a terrifying, fiery accident which saw his his Haas car engulfed in flames in a first-lap accident at the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix on Monday (NZ time). 

The 34-year-old Frenchman, who was able to free himself from the wreckage and jump clear of the fire after the car penetrated the barriers, was taken to a nearby military hospital for checks where he will remain to be treated for burns sustained on the back of both hands.

Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) medical delegate Ian Roberts rushed forward to assist Grosjean as marshals extinguished the burning car, with the impact of the crash reportedly measured at more than 50G.

The race was halted for an hour and 20 minutes as track workers repaired the barriers. 

Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, won the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix was the 95th of seven-times world champion's career and came with the safety car leading the field to the chequered flag.

But the race was overshadowed by Grosjean's crash. 

Ross Brawn, Formula One's managing director for motorsport, said the halo head protection system, a three-point titanium structure introduced in 2018, had probably saved the Frenchman's life.

"Undoubtedly we've got to do a very deep analysis of all the events that occurred because there were a number of things that shouldn't have happened," he says. 

"The fire was worrying, the split of the barrier was worrying. I think the positives are the safety of the car and that's what got us through today."

Brawn said barriers splitting was a problem from Formula One's far more dangerous past "and normally it resulted in a fatality".

Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, said he was 'flabbergasted' by what he had seen and it was a miracle Grosjean, a father of three who is likely to leave Formula One at the end of the year, was alive.

Brawn said the sport had not seen such a fire in many years, although the fuel cells were now built to be 'incredibly strong' and he suspected it was more likely to be due to a ruptured connection.

"It looked a big fire but those cars are carrying 100 kilos of fuel at that stage," he says. "I think if 100 kilos had gone up we would have had a massive fire.

"For me that was a fire of a few kilos of fuel."

Replays showed the Frenchman, whose Formula One career already looked to be coming to an end with Haas having announced the departure of both their drivers at the end of the year, limping away.

Romain Grosjean's car.
Romain Grosjean's car. Photo credit: Getty

Hamilton, who was leading from pole position when the red flags came out, shook his head in disbelief as he watched replays.

"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," said Hamilton on Twitter.

"Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we've taken for Romain to walk away from that safely."

Other drivers were visibly shaken watching footage of the accident.

"It was horrible, when I saw the images I was shocked," says Pierre Gasly. "It was really scary but I had no idea a Formula 1 car could break that way."

Sebastian Vettel added: "I haven't looked at the images a lot, mainly because I didn't want to, but a Grand Prix car and barrier are not supposed to fail like that.

"It shouldn't fail and the car shouldn't catch fire in that fashion, so I don't know what happened there."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished second with Thai team mate Alexander Albon completing the podium in the floodlit race at Sakhir after inheriting third place from Racing Point's Sergio Perez who suffered a blown engine three laps from the end.