On the first lap, Grosjean veered off the track after the third corner following some contact with Daniil Kvyat and his Haas car ploughed into the barriers, exploding on impact and breaking in half.
The French driver miraculously emerged from the flames after several seconds and was immediately tended to by the track side emergency services.
“He’s doing okay, he had light burns on hands and ankles,” Haas Team Principle Guenther Steiner told Sky Sports. “Obviously shaken and going through all checks necessary after an impact like this. He’s conscious.”
The Haas team added on Twitter: “As a precaution and for further medical evaluation Romain will be transported to hospital.”
Sky Sports estimated that there were 18-20 seconds between the point of impact and Grosjean emerging from the flames. The mangled and charred front half of the car, from which Grosjean managed to escape on his own, was embedded in the track side barriers.
“In 12 years I’ve never seen that much fire,” Alan van der Merwe, the medical car driver, told Sky Sports. “Then Romain just started to get out of the car himself, which is pretty amazing after an incident like that.
“It just goes to show all the systems, the halo, the barriers, the seat belt, all worked as they should. Without even one of those things it could have been a very different outcome.”
More to follow…