Formula 1 racing driver Romain Grosjean has said he is “sort of okay” after surviving a horror crash during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 34-year-old Frenchman escaped with minor burns after his car was sliced in half by a safety barrier and burst into flames on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking in a video on Instagram from his hospital bed some hours later, he informed fans he was on the mend.
“Hello everyone, just wanted to say I am okay, well… sort of okay.
“Thank you very much for the messages.”
Grosjean added he “wasn’t for the halo some years ago”, but added that without it “I wouldn’t be here today”, referring to the driver crash-protection system used in open-wheel racing series.
Following the crash, he managed to leap out of the burning car up to 20 seconds after impact.
His Haas car slid off the track on the first lap and was ripped in two before it caught fire.
He clambered out with the fire roaring behind him and his race helmet singed, limping away to an ambulance.
His F1 team tweeted he “has some minor burns on his hands and ankles but otherwise he is ok”.
“He is with the doctors just now,” they added.
An FIA spokesman said the impact of Grosjean’s crash was measured at 53G.
Replays showed the driver leaping over the barriers and away from the flaming wreckage of his car before he was helped to a waiting ambulance.
The accident was triggered when Grosjean swerved across the front of Daniil Kvyat, making contact with his AlphaTauri.
Lewis Hamilton, who ended up winning the race and cruising to the 11th victory of his title-winning Formula 1 season, expressed his relief on Twitter while he was waiting for the race to restart.
He said he was “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,” he added.
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. Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we’ve taken for Romain to walk away from that safely https://t.co/dG8AXmsbKN
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 29, 2020
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said: “Romain is doing okay, I don’t want to make a medical comment but he had light burns on his hands and ankles. Obviously he’s shaken… I want to thank the rescue crews who are very quick. The marshals and FIA people they did a great job, it was scary.”
Sky Sports’ Karun Chandhok, a former racing driver, said: “It looks like when the car went through the barriers, the back of the chassis where the engine is mounted, the engine mount has snapped off and ripped off a bit of the chassis and that appears to have pierced the fuel bag.”
The accident temporarily halted the race on the opening lap. It restarted around an hour later following quick work to repair the significant damage to the trackside barriers.