Lewis Hamilton wins in Bahrain after Romain Grosjean survives fireball crash

Lewis Hamilton celebrated his seventh world championship by winning a Bahrain Grand Prix that will be remembered for Romain Grosjean's remarkable escape from his fireball inferno.

Grosjean, 34, scrambled to get out of his burning car for almost half a minute before eventually leaping away and into the arms of Formula One doctor, Englishman Ian Roberts, one of the first men on the scene.

On the opening lap, Grosjean moved to his right at the third corner, before hitting the front-left wheel of Daniil Kvyat's AlphaTauri, and penetrating the steel barrier at 140mph. The force of the impact, which registered at 53G, split his machine in two.

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: <> during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Fire marshals put out a fire on Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured being helped into an ambulance after a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Track marshals clear the debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Track marshals clear the debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured on a screen escaping his crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
The suvival cell of Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car is removed after a crash during the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Hamad Mohammed - Pool/Getty Images)
Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car burns after crashing during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by KAMRAN JEBREILI / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAMRAN JEBREILI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured being helped into an ambulance after a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on from the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Stewards and medics attend to Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean (2nd-R) after a crash at the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A steward reacts as officials put out a fire on Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean car following a crash during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The remains of Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car are seen through the barriers after crashing at the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Stewards watch as Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car burns during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri talks with his engineers on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Track marshals clear the debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Nicholas Latifi of Canada and Williams, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari kneel as Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri and Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari stand in support of ending racism before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on from the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes is launched upside down following a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Hamad Mohammed - Pool/Getty Images)
A Gulf Air plane passes over the track ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: FIA Race Director Michael Masi and FIA President Jean Todt pose for a photo on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A general view of the Sakhir Tower at the circuit prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
A Gulf Air plane passes over the track ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (L) greets Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton after the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP poses with the pole position award in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Hamad Mohammed - Pool/Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton speaks after the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton greets members of his team after the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Jack Aitken of Great Britain and Campos Racing prepars for the Round 11:Sakhir Feature Race of the Formula 2 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the third practice session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by Kamran JEBREILI / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAMRAN JEBREILI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: The Red Bull Racing team practice pitstops before final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
The wreckage of Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car is pictured after a crash at the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured walking from his car after a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
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Grosjean's cockpit instantly burst into flames, and the sport held its breath as television cameras cut hastily away from the extraordinary accident and the race was immediately stopped.

After a number of minutes, Grosjean's Haas team mercifully reported that their driver was out of the cockpit. He was then pictured sitting in the medical car before limping towards an ambulance, aided by Roberts and medical car driver Alan Van Der Merwe. He had leapt out of his burning machine with his racing boot missing from his left foot.

Grosjean was airlifted to the BDF Military Hospital, 10 miles north of the Bahrain International Circuit, with burns to his hands and ankles and suspected broken ribs. It is also understood he might have broken a bone in his foot following one of the biggest accidents in Formula One's recent memory.

"It is a miracle he is alive," said 1996 world champion Damon Hill, whose Williams team-mate Ayrton Senna perished at the San Marino Grand Prix 26 years ago.

Hamilton, who was leading the race at the time of the incident, was seen shaking his head as he watched a replay of the jaw-dropping accident from inside the Mercedes garage as the grand prix was suspended.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton tweeted: "I'm so grateful Romain is safe.

"Wow. The risk we take is no joke, for those of you out there that forget that we put our life on the line for this sport and for what we love to do.

"Thankful to the FIA for the massive strides we've taken for Romain to walk away from that safely."

There will now be question marks as to how Grosjean's car managed to penetrate a steel barrier.

But the halo device – the driver-cockpit protection system controversially introduced in 2018 – appears to have played a major role in the Frenchman's remarkable escape.

South African Van Der Merwe praised the safety measures the sport has taken.

"We just took a little time to process what was going on," he said. "I am sure it was only a second or so but it felt like ages and then Romain started to get out of the car himself which was pretty amazing after an accident like that.

"There was some relief when we got back here and he was OK.

"It just goes to show that all the systems we developed worked hand in hand, the halo, the barriers, the seat belt, everything worked how it should and without just one of those things, it could have been a very different outcome."

Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing
Lewis Hamilton is congratulated (Tolga Bozoglu/AP)

The race started again following a 90-minute stoppage, but there was further drama after just eight corners when Lance Stroll was flipped upside down.

Kvyat attempted to pass the Canadian driver at the right-handed turn eight, but sent him on to the roof of his Racing Point. Stroll clambered out of his cockpit, reporting that he was "OK" over the radio, and the safety car was deployed. Kvyat was hit with a 10-second penalty, while Stroll was given the all-clear following a visit to the medical centre.

Hamilton completed two regulation stops for new tyres and comfortably kept Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who finished second, at bay.

The Briton has now led more laps this season than of any year in his F1 career, while claiming his 11th triumph of 2020.

If he wins the final two rounds here in Bahrain next Sunday and at the season-decider in Abu Dhabi on December 13, he will match Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel's joint record for the most number of victories in a year.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez was denied a podium after an engine failure just three laps from the end. Alexander Albon finished third for Red Bull as the race ended under the safety car following Perez's retirement. British driver Lando Norris took the flag in fourth.

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