Grosjean says he thought about Niki Lauda and reveals he ‘saw death coming’ in fiery Bahrain crash
Romain Grosjean says he “saw death coming” as he was trying to escape his burning car after his huge crash in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix – and that "for my children, I told myself that I had to get out".
The Frenchman hit the barriers after Turn 3 during the opening lap of Sunday’s race, ripping his car in half before it caught fire. He managed to get himself out of the car in a matter of seconds after the impact, but in his first interview since the crash he revealed he had time to think about his children, and even former F1 racer Niki Lauda, who came close to death after a fiery accident of his own at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
"It felt much longer than 28 seconds,” Grosjean told French broadcaster TF1. “I see my visor turning all orange, I see the flames on the left side of the car. I thought about a lot of things – including Niki Lauda – and I thought that it wasn't possible to end up like that, not now. I couldn't finish my story in Formula 1 like that.”
The Haas driver says he knew he had to get himself out of the car for the sake of his family.
“For my children, I told myself that I had to get out. I put my hands in the fire, so I clearly felt it burning on the chassis. I got out, then I felt someone pulling on the suit, so I knew I was out."
That someone was FIA medic Dr Ian Roberts, who was one of the first people on the scene – along with Medical Car driver Alan van der Merwe, and several marshals – and helped pull Grosjean over the barrier as the flames licked up from the car.
"I was more afraid for my family and friends, obviously my children who are my greatest source of pride and energy, than for myself in the end," Grosjean went on.
“It's the biggest crash I've ever seen in my life. The car catching fire, exploding, and the battery that burst into flames too, so it added a lot of energy to the impact."
And he revealed that although the mental images of the crash will stay with him for life, he is determined to get back in the car for his final F1 race with Haas, at the Abu Dhabi season finale.
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"I think there's going to be some psychological work to be done, because I really saw death coming,” he said. "I would say that there is a feeling of being happy to be alive, of seeing things differently. But also there is the need to get back in the car, if possible in Abu Dhabi, to finish my story with Formula 1 in a different way.
"It was almost like a second birth. To come out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever.
"I don't know if the word miracle exists or if it can be used, but in any case I would say it wasn't my time [to die],” he said.
Guenther Steiner, Grosjean’s team boss at Haas, revealed on Tuesday that the Frenchman would be staying in hospital for another night as he continues to have treatment to the burns he suffered in the accident.