AFP, SAKHIR, Bahrain
Romain Grosjean said that he ‘saw death’ after he on Wednesday left the hospital following his dramatic escape from a fiery high-speed crash during the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday last week.
Haas driver Grosjean somehow wrenched himself free from his blazing car with just burns to his hands and a broken left foot after a collision with Daniil Kvyat on the first lap of the race, and was treated in a military hospital in Bahrain.
“I saw death too closely. You can’t live that and be the same man,” Grosjean said.
Photo : AFP
The 34-year-old Frenchman was stuck in his car for nearly half a minute before getting out alive, largely thanks to the car’s survival cell, his so-called “halo” device.
He said the crash “was not the most violent” of his F1 career and the subsequent fire from which he managed to flee with minor injuries.
“I undid my seat belt right away and I tried to get out of the car, but I realized my helmet was hitting something,” Grosjean said, his voice trembling. “I sat back down, told myself that I was stuck and that I’ll wait.”
“But on my left, it was all orange and I realized that it was burning. I told myself: ‘No time to wait, I’m going to try to get out on the right,’ but I couldn’t. I couldn’t get out on the left either,” he said.
“I thought: ‘It can’t end like this, not now.’ I tried to get out again, but I couldn’t, so I sat down and I saw death, not close up, but from too close… It’s a feeling that I wish on no one.”
It was by thinking of his three children while flames enveloped his vehicle that he found a way to extract himself, Grosjean said.
“That’s where I found the resources to pull out my blocked foot, to turn my head … to put my hands up to hoist myself out knowing that they were going to burn, but that was okay,” he said.
Grosjean said that he hopes to return for the last grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi next month.
“The limits imposed on me for the future are not about fear of this happening another time, but rather of never having to do this to my loved ones again,” he said. “A week ago, taking a year off seemed impossible. Today I tell myself that I will kitesurf, bike races, see my kids, have fun, drink wine. It will change my life forever.”
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