Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured on a screen escaping his crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, November 29 2020. Picture: PETER FOX/GETTY IMAGES
Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured on a screen escaping his crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, November 29 2020. Picture: PETER FOX/GETTY IMAGES

Manama — Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday after French driver Romain Grosjean had a miraculous escape from a fiery first-lap crash that ripped his car in two.

The win, from pole position, was the 95th of seven-time world champion Hamilton’s career and came with the safety car leading the field to the chequered flag.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished second with Thai teammate Alexander Albon completing the podium in the floodlit race at Sakhir after Racing Point’s Sergio Perez suffered a late engine failure.

Hamilton, who clinched the title in Turkey two weeks ago, has now won the last five races and 11 of the 15 so far this season.

The 34-year-old Grosjean, 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.

“It is a miracle he is alive,” said Britain’s 1996 world champion Damon Hill, expressing his “absolute shock and horror” at the images on Sky television. FIA medical delegate Ian Roberts rushed forward to assist Grosjean as marshals extinguished the fire. The impact was measured at more than 50G, according to a spokesperson for the sport’s governing FIA.

“We just haven’t seen anything like that since something like Gerhard’s accident in Imola all those years ago,” said Hill, referring to a fiery 1989 crash that ruptured the fuel tank on Austrian Gerhard Berger’s Ferrari.

A Haas team spokesperson said Grosjean had suffered minor burns on his hands and ankles and one or more suspected broken ribs.

Replays showed the Frenchman limping away. The race was delayed for an hour and 20 minutes as track workers removed the wrecked barrier and replaced it.

Hamilton 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.

Reuters

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