Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean recalls his escape from the crash during the Bahrain GP revealing that he felt the 28 seconds in the car that was up in flames were much longer. He also states that he told himself to get out of the wreckage for his children.

The 34-year-old crashed out his Haas on the opening lap of the Bahrain GP after coming into contact with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat. The VF-20 crashed to the barrier at the exit of turn 3. The impact was at 137mph and recorded a force of more than 50g. The car tore in half and burst into flames leaving Grosjean to escape from his cockpit which had gone through the barrier.

The Frenchman was able to escape quickly through the flames, only suffering burns to his hands and no fractures. He will be remaining in the hospital up to Wednesday and will miss in this weekend’s Sakhir GP but he is very hopeful that he will be making a comeback in the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Grosjean joked that he had ‘Mickey Mouse’s hands’ due to the bandages on his hands as he talked in his first extended interview since the Sunday incident. He had no other issues other than the burns in his hands and he has no issue moving. Grosjean recalled his immediate thoughts in the accident, conceding that it felt longer than the 28-second period from impact to him getting out of the car.

“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],” Grosjean told TF1.

“It felt much longer than 28 seconds. 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.

“And then, 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.”

Romain Grosjean being assisted by the race marshals from the crash at the exit of turn 13 during the Bahrain Grand Prix

Grosjean revealed that his five-year-old son, Simon, believes he has “magical powers” and that he has a “magical love shield” that protected him.

“These are very strong words from the children,” Grosjean said. “My eldest, Sacha, who is seven years old, is more rational, he tries to understand.

“And my little one has drawn a picture, ‘for daddy’s sores on his hands’.”

Grosjean acknowledged he would likely need to discuss the trauma of such a dramatic accident as he feared he would be killed.

“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 said.

“I think there’s going to be some psychological work to be done, because I really saw death coming.

“Even in Hollywood, we’re not able to do images like that. 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.”

Grosjean gave thanks for the messages he had received, but said again that he was eager to be back in the car in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“I would say that there is a feeling of being happy to be alive, of seeing things differently,” Grosjean said.

“But also there is the need to get back in the car, if possible in Abu Dhabi, to finish my story with Formula One 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 have a lot of people who have shown me love and it has touched me a lot, and at times I get a bit teary-eyed.”

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