Haas driver Romain Grosjean is recovering in a Bahrain hospital after suffering burns to his hands and feet during a fiery crash in the Bahrain GP, which could easily have claimed his life.
On the opening lap of the grand prix, Grosjean tried to overtake his teammate Kevin Magnussen, by turning right at more than 220km/h seemingly unaware of the Alpha Tauri almost alongside him, driven by a hapless Daniil Kvyat, which he clipped, sending his car spearing head-on into the Armco barrier.
Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle said "it's pierced the barrier like a tin opener" as the car split in half after hitting the barrier and there was a fireball, as the fuel tanks ruptured.
Grosjean was harnessed into the cockpit of his car, which had broken through the metal barrier, and became wedged.
Luckily, he was conscious throughout the fiery crash and able to extract himself from the inferno as FIA medical staff arrived quickly on the scene and were able to douse the flames, along with a marshal, giving Grosjean the chance to make his great escape.
Pictures and videos of his miraculous survival are almost of biblical proportions as he literally appeared from out of the flames of his totally destroyed car, scaled the barrier and walked away, aided by Dr Roberts of the FIA medical team.
It was, in fact, the halo titanium device fixed to the car's cockpit, a device controversially made mandatory in 2018, that almost certainly saved Grosjean's life or prevented a life debilitating injury.
The race was delayed by more than an hour, and when it resumed, seven time World champion Lewis Hamilton had little difficulty adding to his almost perfect 2020 record by easily winning his 11th race in 15 starts, and 95th grand prix victory, to go with the 98th pole position he had taken, for what will prove to be an unforgettable race for all the wrong reasons.
Max Verstappen in the Red Bull finished second for the sixth time this season, to go with his one race win, three third places and four retirements.
He lamented after qualifying behind Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, that "at the moment I don't have the same, like, equal chances, let's say it like that."
Sergio Perez should have been third in the Racing Point, but an engine blow-up four laps from the end of the race handed a podium to Red Bull driver Alex Albon, who is fighting to retain the drive for next year, that many people believe should go to Perez, who was fourth in the drivers' championship prior to the race.
Perez has lost his drive to Sebastian Vettel for next year and for now has lost fourth place in the championship to Daniel Ricciardo, who finished sixth, behind the McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.
But the race results and the driver's championship will be forgotten for now as F1 comes to terms with the dramatic race crash that highlights both the danger of the sport and the safety measures introduced by the FIA, to counter that danger.
Perez described losing 15 points as "irrelevant" compared to the horrific crash Grosjean had to endure.
"It's hard to digest, it's a big hit," Perez said, meaning the points lost, not Grosjean's impact crash.
"Those points are extremely important, crucial to us in everything. But I also have to say it becomes very irrelevant when you see what happened to Grosjean and I'm just very happy he's okay and he can be with his family, kids and I think that's the most important thing of the day."
Perez's comment seemed to sum up the feeling in the F1 paddock, as shocked drivers and team personnel saw the screen images of the terrifying incident while waiting for the debris of Grosjean's car to be removed and the barrier repaired. For some drivers, the graphic replays of the fiery crash were too much.
"I don't want to much comment on the race," Ricciardo told Ziggo Sport.
"I want to express my disgust and disappointment with F1. The way the incident of Grosjean was broadcast over and over, the replays, it was completely disrespectful and inconsiderate for his family, for all our families, watching."
"We are going racing again in an hour and every time we look at the TV it is a ball of fire and his car is cut in half. We can see that tomorrow. We don't need to see it today."
"For me, it was entertainment, and they are playing with all our emotions and I thought it was pretty disgusting."
However, F1 has defended showing the replays, stating "no footage is shown until there is confirmation that the driver is okay. On this occasion at this point F1 showed Romain with the ambulance, helmet off and walking with aid."
Concern rather than disgust was the man reaction of other F1personnel. Haas principal Gunther Steiner was naturally concerned about his driver's welfare, stating he had spoken to him by phone from his hospital bed and described his demeanour as "very upbeat"
Images were soon on the news and the internet showing Grosjean sitting up in bed with bandaged hands from burns suffered in extricating himself from the wreck of his car. He put out a message on twitter.
"Hello everyone. I just wanted to say I'm okay-well sort of okay," he said, holding up bandaged hands.
"Thank you very much for all the messages. I wasn't for the Halo some years ago, but I think it's the greatest thing that we've brought to Formula 1 and without it I wouldn't be able to speak with you today."
"So, thanks to all the medical staff at the circuit, at the hospital, and hopefully I can write you quite soon some messages and tell you how it's going."
Magnussen said he was "very, very happy to see Romain walk away from that crash-it was unbelievable the crash he had there."
"To see him survive that is frankly a miracle. I'm so happy that the halo was introduced and that we have this thing on the car. Without it, I'm sure it would have been very different."
Race winner Hamilton called it "such a shocking image to see."
"When I get in the car, I know that I'm taking a risk, and I respect the dangers that are in this sport."
"I don't know what Gs he pulled, but I'm just so thankful that the halo worked. I'm grateful that the barrier didn't slice his head up or something."
Vettel, who has never been seriously injured in a crash in his 12 years of F1, was critical of the guardrail failure, given the front half of Grosjean's Haas punched a hole through it with Grosjean trapped inside.
"I haven't looked at the images a lot as I didn't want to, but the main thing is he got out," Vettel told Sky Sports F1.
"Obviously the guardrail is not supposed to fail like that. I mean it's good the cars are safer than they used to be in the past but the guardrail shouldn't fail and the car shouldn't catch fire in that fashion."
F1 boss Ross Brawn has already promised a "deep investigation" into the crash.
"It's shocking for everyone in F1 to see an accident of that severity," Brawn stated.
"We're not used to that, fire being involved as well. But I think it's a tribute to the work that the FIA and the teams have done over the years. I think we remember the controversy of the halo when it was introduced. And I have to give credit to Jean Todt. Because he insisted that it should come through."
"And I think today, we might be looking at a different situation that we didn't have the halo. But I'm sure we'll have a deep investigation to understand what we can learn from it. Because seeing a barrier split like that is clearly not what we want to see."
The last F1 driver to die from injuries suffered in a crash was Jules Bianchi, who at the 2014 Japanese GP, crashed under safety-car conditions, his Marussia sliding under a recovery vehicle. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and remained in a coma until he died eight months after his accident.
Grosjean's wife Marion has posted messages and paid tribute to Jules, his family, the FIA medical staff and the Haas team. She labelled her husband a "superhero". Few would argue with that.
The last F1 crash that involved a car catching on fire similar to Grosjean's, was Gerhard Berger's in the Ferrari at Imola in 1989.
Berger's car bounced off the barrier before bursting into flames, knocking him unconscious.
He suffered second-degree burns to his hands. Grosjean was able to get himself out of his stricken car, but the fact that the car punched a hole through the barrier will give the FIA much concern.
A lot of progress has been made with safety in F1 since 1989, but this latest incident may necessitate a return to the safety drawing board.
Grosjean's miraculous escape was followed by a suggestion from Steiner that Grosjean may race in this weekend's Sakhir GP in Bahrain.
That miracle won't happen, as reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will race instead, but in a season that has held 15 races so far despite a global coronavirus pandemic, anything may have been possible.