Romain Grosjean was lucky to avoid more major burns after his helmet visor melted during his fiery Bahrain Grand Prix crash, FIA doctor Ian Roberts has revealed.
Roberts stepped into the flames to help Haas driver Grosjean escape over the barrier after he and medical car driver Alan van der Merwe had quickly joined marshals on the scene.
Roberts revealed the first thing he had told the French driver was to “sit down” and he explained: “He was very shaky and his visor was completely opaque and melted. I had to get his helmet off just to check everything else was okay.
“He had some pain on his foot and hands so from that point we knew it was safe enough to move him into the [medical] car, a bit more protection, get some gel on his burns then get him into the ambulance and off to the medical centre.”
Grosjean was engulfed in a fireball after his car split in two on impact during the crash but the French driver managed to escape from the flames with minor burns.
Such scenes are extremely rare in F1, due to major safety design factors around fuel tanks, and Roberts revealed that despite the heavy impact, the first concern for the medical crew was to check for the effects of the fire.
“From that sort of thing it’s going to be flame, smoke inhalation, airway issues, but nothing went up into his helmet, we’ve had a look at his helmet as well,” said Roberts, whose face was singed in the rescue.
“As we arrived [it was a] very odd scene, where you’ve got half a car pointing in the wrong direction and just across the barrier a mass of heat. Then looking to the right at that point I could see Romain trying to get up.
“We needed some way of getting to him, we’ve got the marshal there with the extinguisher, that was just enough to push the flame away as Romain got high enough to then reach over and pull him over the barrier.
“Looking at him clinically we were quite happy with him from a life-threatening injury point of view, then it was just trying to make him comfortable from the injuries we could see.”