Grosjean "saw death coming" but 'didn't want to end up like Lauda'
Romain Grosjean has recalled the shocking horror of the fiery crash that almost claimed his life in Bahrain, revealing that he "saw death coming".
Grosjean spent 28 seconds in the flames of the burning wreckage of his Haas that had split into two after a 130mph, 53g crash into a retaining barrier on the opening lap of Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.
The fact Grosjean managed to extract himself from the car is testament to the wonders of Formula 1's safety innovations, and as he states "it wasn't my time", although he concedes the crash has "marked him for life".
In an interview with TF1 and LCI, and remembering the accident from start to finish, Grosjean said: "I did not lose consciousness.
"To get out of the seat, I was able to remove my seat belt, the steering wheel was no longer there, it probably flew off during the impact.
"I saw my visor all orange, the flames around me, and the accident of Niki Lauda came to mind [the 1976 Austrian GP that almost claimed his life but left him permanently scarred]. I didn't want to end up like that.
"I had to get out for my children. In the end, my hands were burnt and I have a big sprain, while I thought I had broken my foot.
"I was more afraid for my relatives, my children in the first place, but also my father and my mother. I was not really afraid for myself. I saw death coming, I had no other option but to get out of there."
While falling short of suggesting his escape was a miracle, Grosjean at least recognised the impact of the halo for saving his life, a device introduced in the wake of Jules Bianchi's accident in the 2014 Japanese GP that ultimately claimed his life.
"Without the halo, I would no longer be there," said Grosjean. "I think Jules didn't want me up there.
"This is like a rebirth for me. I will be marked for life by this accident."
Reviewing a video of the what unfolded, Grosjean added: "Even in Hollywood, it does not exist. I spent 28 seconds in the flames but it seemed much longer to me as I tried to get out of the tub three times. After this accident, I'm happy to be alive.
"My little boy Simon, who is five years old, told me that I had a magic power, a magic shield of love that protected me."
Grosjean is now determined to get back to racing. Although he will miss this Sunday's Sakhir GP around the Bahrain International Circuit's outer layout, he wants to race in the season-ending event in Abu Dhabi.
"I want to finish my story in F1 differently," said Grosjean. "The Romain Grosjean before would never have said this but, if I do Abu Dhabi, I will be happy even if I finish 20th [laughing].
"Even if it's complicated for those close to me, it's a need for me to get back into a Formula 1 car, to see where I am, if I can continue to drive.
With thick bandages around his hands, despite conceding it looks "shocking", Grosjean said: "It's superficial. I have mobility in all my fingers."
... he saw death coming, instead of just... seeing kvyat coming
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