Formula 1 Driver Who Survived Fiery Crash Says He Thought About His Kids in Moment: 'I Cannot Die'

Haas driver Romain Grosjean — a father of three — survived one of the most horrific Formula 1 crashes in recent memory

Romain Grosjean
Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty

As Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean's car went up in flames after crashing into a guardrail last weekend, all the 34-year-old could think about was making it out alive for his three children.

Grosjean survived the violent crash last Sunday at the Bahrain Grand Prix in the Persian Gulf. The Haas driver was going 137 mph when his car veered off track into a barrier, splitting in two. Grosjean emerged from the fiery wreckage 28 seconds after the crash with only minor injuries.

While he was in the car with flames around him, Grosjean said he thought about Niki Lauda, the famed racer who suffered burns to his face during a crash in 1976 and was the focus of the 2013 film, Rush, starring Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth.

"I try to go up a bit more on the right, it doesn't work, go on the left, doesn't work so I sit back down and thought about Niki Lauda, his accident, [and I] thought it couldn't end like this, it couldn't be my last race, it couldn't finish like this, no way, so I try again," Grosjean told Sky Sports News of the accident, according to F1.

"Then there's the less pleasant moment where my body start to relax," he continued, "I'm in peace with myself and I'm going to die."

Romain Grosjean crash
The aftermath of the Romain Grosjean crash. Clive Mason/Formula 1 via Getty

It was then that Grosjean thought about the three children he shares with his wife, Marion Grosjean.

"Then I think about my kids, and I say, 'No they cannot lose their Dad today.' So I don't know why I did what I did, but I decided to turn my helmet on the left-hand side and to go up like this and try and twist my shoulder, that sort of works," Grosjean, who is Swedish and French, recalled.

"But then I realize my foot is stuck in the car so I sit back down, pull as hard as I can on my left leg, the shoe stayed where my foot was but my foot came out of the shoe, and then I do it again and the shoulders are going through and the time the shoulder was through I know I'm going to jump out," he added.

Marion Smith, Romain Grosjean
Romain and Marion Grosjean. David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty

Grosjean placed both of his hands into the flames to lift himself out of the car, at which point he was met by doctors and emergency officials who had rushed to the scene.

"I shake my hand as they're very hot and painful," he said. "I remove the gloves straight away as I've got the image that the skin is like doing bubbles and melting and is going to stick to the gloves, so straight away I want to remove the gloves."

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Grosjean was immediately taken to a local hospital, where he was treated for burns to his hands. He was released on Wednesday.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) announced they are investigating the crash and expect to have the results in six to eight weeks. Grosjean hopes to return to the track at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 13.

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