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Hamilton celebrated his 11th Grand Prix victory of the season.
Hamilton celebrated his 11th Grand Prix victory of the season.
Image: Imago/PA Images

Hamilton's victory at Bahrain Grand Prix overshadowed by terrifying Grosjean crash

Grosjean escaped from his burning cockpit in one the biggest accidents in Formula One’s recent memory.
Nov 29th 2020, 5:53 PM 5,262 2

LEWIS HAMILTON CELEBRATED his seventh world championship by winning a Bahrain Grand Prix that will be remembered for Romain Grosjean’s remarkable escape from his fireball inferno.

Grosjean hit the front-left wheel of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTaur on the opening lap, colliding with the steel barrier at 140mph. The force of the impact, which registered at 53G, split his machine in two.

Grosjean’s cockpit instantly burst into flames, and the sport held its breath as television cameras cut hastily away from the extraordinary accident and the race was immediately stopped.

After a number of minutes, Grosjean’s Haas team mercifully reported that their driver was out of the cockpit. He was airlifted to the BDF Military Hospital, 10 miles north of the Bahrain International Circuit, with burns to his hands and ankles and suspected broken ribs. It is also understood he might have broken a bone in his foot following one of the biggest accidents in Formula One’s recent memory.

There will now be question marks as to how Grosjean’s car managed to penetrate a steel barrier.

But the halo device – the driver-cockpit protection system controversially introduced in 2018 – appears to have played a major role in the Frenchman’s remarkable escape.

The race started again following a 90-minute stoppage, but there was further drama after just eight corners when Lance Stroll was flipped upside down.

Kvyat attempted to pass the Canadian driver at the right-handed turn eight, but sent him on to the roof of his Racing Point. Stroll clambered out of his cockpit, reporting that he was “OK” over the radio, and the safety car was deployed. Kvyat was hit with a 10-second penalty, while Stroll was given the all-clear following a visit to the medical centre.

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Hamilton completed two regulation stops for new tyres and comfortably kept Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who finished second, at bay.

The Briton has now led more laps this season than of any year in his F1 career, while claiming his 11th triumph of 2020.

If he wins the final two rounds here in Bahrain next Sunday and at the season-decider in Abu Dhabi on 13 December, he will match Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel’s joint record for the most number of victories in a year.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was denied a podium after an engine failure just three laps from the end. Alexander Albon finished third for Red Bull as the race ended under the safety car following Perez’s retirement. British driver Lando Norris took the flag in fourth.

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