Romain Grosjean escaped a horrific crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday after his car caught fire in seconds after a collision, but he jumped out of the blaze just in time.
Almost a week after the incident, the Haas driver, who is now out of the hospital, narrated a powerful account of how he managed to get out of the car and avoid death.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Grosjean said he almost had made peace with death after failing in his attempts to get out of his car, before the memory of his kids drove him on to not give up the fight.
“It stops, I open my eyes, I undo the seatbelt, and I want to jump out. I hit something on top of my helmet, so I sit back down and thought I must be upside down up against the barrier, so I’ll wait until they come and help me,” Grosjean told Sky Sports.
“I looked to my right, looked to my left, and it was all orange. That’s strange, I thought. A few things [came into my head]. Is it sunset? No. Is it the light from the circuit? No. Then I realised it was fire. So I knew I didn’t have time until they come,” he added.
After failing to force his way out, Grosjean felt he would probably die and thoughts of Niki Lauda came to his mind.
“I thought about Niki Lauda - the driver I love the most in the history of Formula 1. I said, ‘I can’t finish like Niki, I can’t finish like this. It cannot be my last race’.
“So I tried again, I’m stuck. And then comes the part which is the most scary one. I sit back down, all my muscle relaxes, and I was almost at peace with myself, thinking, I’m dead. I will die,” he said.
“I don’t know if that moment allowed me to recover a bit, try to think of another solution, but I thought about my kids [Grosjean has three] and I said, no. I cannot die today. For my kids, I cannot die today.
“Then I start to twist my head, go up and turn my body. It worked,” he added.
Grosjean who suffered burns on his hands said he hopes to return for the last GP of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi next month, which could also be his last F1 race as Haas announced on Wednesday Michael Schumacher’s son Mick will join Russian rookie Nikita Mazepin in a new lineup next year.
Watch Romain Grosjean’s full interview with Sky Sports below: