Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean says he “saw death coming” during his fiery crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix and feels “happy to be alive”.

The Haas driver spent 28 seconds in a burning car after crashing into the barriers at 137mph on the opening lap of the race. The incident left him with burns on his hands and he has been in hospital since.

He says he remembers the crash from start to finish and it will leave him “marked for life”.

“I don’t know if the word miracle exists or if it can be used, but in any case I would say it wasn’t my time [to die],” he told TF1.

“It felt much longer than 28 seconds. I see my visor turning all orange, I see the flames on the left side of the car.

“I thought about a lot of things, including Niki Lauda (who was left permanently scarred after a crash at the 1976 Austrian GP), and I thought that it wasn’t possible to end up like that, not now. I couldn’t finish my story in Formula 1 like that.

“And then, for my children, I told myself that I had to get out. I put my hands in the fire, so I clearly felt it burning on the chassis.

“I got out, then I felt someone pulling on the suit, so I knew I was out.

“I was more afraid for my family and friends, obviously my children who are my greatest source of pride and energy, than for myself in the end

“I think there’s going to be some psychological work to be done, because I really saw death coming.

“Even in Hollywood, we’re not able to do images like that. It’s the biggest crash I’ve ever seen in my life. The car catching fire, exploding, and the battery that burst into flames too, so it added a lot of energy to the impact.”

Grosjean also gave thanks for all the support he has received and says he hopes to return to race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 13.

“I would say that there is a feeling of being happy to be alive, of seeing things differently,” Grosjean said.

“But also there is the need to get back in the car, if possible in Abu Dhabi, to finish my story with Formula One in a different way.

“It was almost like a second birth. To come out of the flames that day is something that will mark my life forever. I have a lot of people who have shown me love and it has touched me a lot, and at times I get a bit teary-eyed.”