RACE DEBRIEF

    It had its supporters and its detractors when it was brought in for the 2018 season – but the scrape marks across the top of Charles Leclerc’s halo after his frightening first lap smash at Spa told their own story about why the system was implemented at the start of this year.

    The first corner crash was initiated by Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, who locked up his front wheels going into La Source after claiming that he lost front-end loading on his Renault in the dirty air of the cars in front of him. The German driver collected Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, sending it sailing over the top Charles Leclerc’s Sauber, but fortunately without injury to either driver.

    While Hulkenberg was later handed a 10-place grid penalty by the stewards for the following race in Monza, images of Leclerc’s car after the crash showed clear markings on the right side of the Sauber’s halo caused by Alonso’s McLaren.

    “Definitely, the halo probably helped today,” Leclerc told the media when asked about the crash, while Fernando Alonso called the incident “good proof” of the efficacy of the system, going on to compare the crash to the 2012 first-lap incident at Spa caused by Romain Grosjean. "It’s a good proof," said Alonso. "We didn’t need any proof but it’s a good thing."

    Away from the racetrack, 2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg was one of several former F1 drivers who took to Twitter to praise the system following the accident, writing: “We can end the HALO discussion now. It will save lives!"

    "After seeing this, we can say the halo is beautiful!" added Felipe Massa, a veteran of 269-Grand Prix starts, while former Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton added: "And people still think race cars shouldn't have them. We could have lost another fantastic talent today without it [the halo]".

    Former Super Aguri racer Anthony Davidson was involved in testing the halo system before its implementation, calling it “the best solution for now” ahead of the start of the 2018 season. Analysing the crash for Sky F1, Davidson told viewers: “We all have to say and admit in a way that the halo did its job today and we now have to appreciate the reason why it’s on the car.”

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