Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean has escaped the burning wreckage of his car which sliced in half before exploding into a fireball at an extraordinary Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Frenchman veered off track in the opening lap of the race and ploughed into the steel barrier at about 225 km/h.
His Haas F1 car split in two and burst into flames in one of the biggest accidents in Formula One’s recent memory.
About 18-20 seconds later, Grosjean emerged from the mangled and charred front half of the car.
He leaped out of his burning machine with his racing boot missing from his left foot.
Grosjean suffered minor burns on his hands and ankles and has one or more suspected broken ribs.
It is also understood he might have broken a bone in his foot.
He was airlifted to hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told Sky Sports that Grosjean was “doing OK”.
“Obviously shaken and going through all checks necessary after an impact like this. He’s conscious,” Mr Steiner said.
“It is a miracle he is alive,” said 1996 world champion Damon Hill, whose Williams teammate Ayrton Senna perished at the San Marino Grand Prix 26 years ago.
Lewis 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.
The seven-time world champion 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.
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.