Romain Grosjean has returned to the Formula One paddock for the first time since his fiery accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Grosjean’s car split in two and was engulfed in flames when it hit a barrier on the opening lap of Sunday’s race. It took 28 seconds for the 34-year-old to escape the wreckage before being helped to safety by Dr Ian Roberts, who arrived on the scene in the FIA medical car.
Grosjean spent three nights in the hospital before being discharged on Wednesday morning after getting treatment for burns on both hands. He has decided to stay in Bahrain this week where this Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix is also taking place.
He will be substituted by Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi this weekend but is hoping to make a recovery in time to take part at the final round of the 2020 campaign in Abu Dhabi next week, which is also likely to be his last in F1.
On Thursday, he returned to the paddock to spend time with his team and meet with Dr. Roberts and the medical car driver Alan van der Merwe, who were among the first people to get at the scene of the accident.
He also posed for photos with track marshals and the FIA’s race director, Michael Masi.
Grosjean still had bandages on both hands and a support on his left ankle. He was accompanied by his wife, Marion, who flew from France earlier this week to be with her husband.
Kevin Magnussen, Grosjean’s team-mate at Haas, also spent time with Grosjean on Thursday and confirmed his colleague is keen to return to action for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next week.
Asked how Grosjean was feeling, Magnussen said: “Everything taken into consideration, I would say really good. His spirit is incredible after what he has just been through.
“It’s been a horrible experience this whole thing. Of course it had a happy ending because he survived relatively unscathed, which is incredible.
“It was a real wake-up, especially being someone you know so well and care about. I’ve worked with Romain for four years very closely as team-mates and that makes it different. “He’s very positive and reflective on the whole thing and seems pretty strong about it.
“I went to see him straight after the race on Sunday, literally a few hours after he escaped from those scenes, and already then he was talking about wanting to get back in the car, so I just have to take my hat off to him.”