It was an eventful race held in Bahrain, characterized by one of the most frightening accidents since Jules Bianchi’s deadly crash in Suzuka. Romain Grosjean shunned death by a hair’s breadth, being surrounded by charring flames while his car was split in half against the guardrail.
By Daphne Seberich
An angel was watching over Romain Grosjean in Bahrain. He escaped the fire evoked by crashing into Daniil Kvyat’s front left tire. Incredulous, the Russian looked over and over into his right mirror, realizing the consequences their contact had. A ball of fire, an explosion: a frightening sight that provoked chills and apprehension to the whole world watching the race. Firemen surrounded the car in flames, attempting to save the driver from a dreadful end. Soon after, the Frenchman’s hand was spotted in the fire, asking for help, fighting for his life. With a shoe missing and his hands burned, the Haas driver jumped out of the blaze, in pain but still alive. Romain was taken right away to the medical center to ascertain his conditions, which are now stable.
Motorsport is dangerous. That is clear for all the drivers. They are risking their lives every time they jump into the death machines that are Formula 1 cars. Last year Antoine Hubert lost his life in Belgium. It could’ve been Grosjean’s last breath if it wasn’t for the halo technology introduced in 2018. If the modern F1 cars weren’t as safe as they are now, this would’ve turned out to be a tragic day for motorsport.
After a 45-minute red flag circumstance, the race restarted from the grid. Hamilton had a blazing start, securing the lead of the race. Meanwhile, at the back of the field, Stroll found himself upside down on the tarmac due to contact with- you guessed it- Daniil Kvyat. It surely wasn’t his best day. The image of the flipped pink car reminded me of the last race of 2018 in Abu Dhabi, when Nico Hulkenberg and his Renault were in the same conditions, hanging from the guardrail “like a cow”. After not even a lap racing, the safety car had to make its way onto the track, setting the pace for the drivers still competing while the marshals removed the Racing Point from the circuit.
As the race kicked-off once again, many drivers had to fight hard to regain the positions lost due to Stroll’s accident. The one that was advantaged from it the most was Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who found himself from P12 to P7 in the matter of one lap. His future teammate at the Italian Scuderia, Carlos Sainz, wasn’t too keen on surrendering his spot to the prancing horse driver. An exquisite fight evolved between the two youngsters, exciting the fans at home and fueling their enthusiasm for the 2021 season, where they’ll compete in the same car.
Even though Sainz was on the least performing tire, his brilliant driving ability granted him to run on the soft compound for over 20 laps, which no one else did. Leclerc’s inferior power unit allowed the Spaniard to overtake the Monegasque, permitting him to regain the position he had lost. Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of the technical inferiority of the Ferrari as well, chasing Leclerc until a DRS zone enabled him to breeze by the Italian car.
Sainz was literally “on fire”, overtaking everyone with such ease and class. He recovered from P15 al the way to P6, surprising everyone, especially since he was running on the most unusual tire strategy.
Another great fight between teammates was the one between Ricciardo and Ocon, battling it out for P8. The Aussie requested team orders to be set in place. His race pace was superior to the one of the French, which didn’t take it too well.
A surprising turn of events saw P3 holder and fan-favorite Checo Perez retire on the 55th lap of the race due to an engine problem of his Mercedes power-unit. The race finished under the safety car, prohibiting the podium fight between Lewis Hamilton and the two Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, who subsequently completed the podium.
Next week Formula 1 will be back in Bahrain, although racing on a new track layout, similar to an Indycar oval. God willing, Romain Grosjean will be back in his car racing for Haas. Hopefully, we won’t see any accident like this ever again.