Commentators, fans, fellow drivers and experts all agree that Romain Grosjean is lucky to be alive after a terrifying fireball crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 34-year-old Haas driver had a miraculous escape after his car speared into a trackside barrier while travelling at more than 200 kilometres per hour.
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The incredible force of the impact separated the rear of the car from the protective monocoque, with the fully fuelled car immediately bursting into flames.
Grosjean, by some miracle, was able to get out of the cockpit and escape from the flames with the assistance of F1 personnel Dr Ian Roberts and Alan van der Merwe, who were trailing the drivers in the medical car on the opening lap.
The Frenchman was quickly transported to hospital, where he was treated for burns to his hands but remained in positive spirits.
An update from Romain himself. Pleased to see you’re in good spirits! We hope you make a speedy recovery 🙏 pic.twitter.com/njnjjH4GBi
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 29, 2020
Reflecting on her husband's miraculous escape, Grosjean's wife Marion praised the 'halo' safety device on his car that almost certainly the driver's life.
In a lengthy and moving post on social media, Marion Grosjean thanked medical personnel and said a "shield of love" from herself and the couple's children had protected their "superhero" from losing his life.
"Obviously, I didn't sleep last night and, to be honest, I'm not sure what to write as words don't come easily," she wrote.
"I didn't know what to post as a photo, either. What image to keep from yesterday? That of the flames? Of him being held by the track workers? The wreckage of his car?
"I put this one, where we're both wearing the same GP2 title t-shirt. The one I still sleep in sometimes.
"I would have preferred it to have the word 'superhero' rather than 'champion', but if we have to we'll have it custom made.
"For our children, because that's how we explain the inexplicable.
"I also wrote on Twitter of how a shield of love protected him.
"I have thanks for the medical workers, the friendship and all who have shown support, affection and kindness."
"Thanks to Jules Bianchi's family, to his father Philippe, whom I keep thinking about. To Jules himself. To Kevin Magnussen for his words. To the Canal + teams for their delicacy.
"Thank you to our children who led him out of the fire.
"Thanks to his courage, his relentlessness, his strength, his love, his physical training, which probably kept him alive too. It didn't take one miracle, it took several. Kisses."
Grosjean and his wife were married in 2008 and have three children together; sons Sacha and Simon, aged seven and five, as well as a two-year-old daughter Camile.
Widespread praise for ‘halo’ safety device
The Frenchman was once an outspoken critic of the 'halo' safety device that is now standard in F1 vehicles but has credited it with saving his life.
"I wasn't for the halo some years ago but I think it's the greatest thing that we brought to Formula One and without it I wouldn't be able to speak to you today," he said from his hospital bed.
Formula One introduced the halo, a three-point titanium structure above the front of the cockpit designed to protect drivers' heads from flying debris, in 2018 and it initially attracted controversy.
"There's absolutely no doubt the halo was the factor that saved the day and saved Romain," Formula One's managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn said.
"There was quite a lot of controversy at the time about introducing it and I don't think anyone now can doubt the validity of that. It was a life-saver today.
"Undoubtedly we've got to do a very deep analysis of all the events that occurred because there were a number of things that shouldn't have happened," Brawn added.
"The fire was worrying, the split of the barrier was worrying.
"I think the positives are the safety of the car and that's what got us through today."
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