Romain Grosjean says he “saw death coming” in a fiery crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix while describing his escape as a “rebirth” that will mark his life forever.
Grosjean said that he should be leaving hospital on Wednesday after being treated for the burns he sustained to his hands while jumping out of his blazing Haas car following a collision with Daniil Kvyat on the first lap of Sunday’s race.
“I’m leaving the hospital normally tomorrow. I’m getting better and better, obviously a few parts are a bit painful but it’s OK,” Grosjean said in a video posted on Twitter.
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“After what happened I guess the pain is not too bad. I’m happy to be alive and talk to you.” Grosjean, 34, was stuck in his car for nearly half a minute before getting out alive, largely thanks to the integrity of his car’s survival cell, his ‘halo’ device.
Brazilian driver Pietro Fittipaldi — grandson of two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi — will make his F1 debut in place of Grosjean in this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, also in Bahrain.
Grosjean is hoping to return for the last GP of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi next month, which could also be his last F1 race.
The father of three opened up on the crash in candid detail in an interview from hospital with France’s TF1, Grosjean said: “I don’t know if the word ‘miracle’ exists or if we can use it, but in any case, it wasn’t my time [to go].
“It felt to me like it lasted much longer than 28 seconds.
“I saw that my whole visor was orange and there were flames to the left of the car. I was thinking about many things, particularly Niki Lauda [who suffered severe burns in an accident at the 1976 German GP], and I didn’t want to end up like him.
“I said to myself, “My F1 career can’t end like this. I told myself that I had to get out of there for my kids.”
Grosjean continued:“I was more scared for my immediate family, my children first of all. “Because they’re my biggest source of pride and energy, than for myself.
“I think there’ll be some psychological work to do because I saw death coming.
“I don’t think they’d be able to do anything quite like that even in Hollywood.
“It’s the biggest crash I’ve seen in my life with the car catching fire and exploding. The battery also caught fire, adding so much energy to the impact.
“… It was almost like a rebirth and coming out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever.”