'It felt like a train' – Alonso relives the crash
2 September 2012 – The whole Formula 1 paddock was shocked by the incident which marred the start of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. After Romain Grosjean triggered a multiple collision, his Lotus became airborne and missed Fernando Alonso’s head by a matter of centimetres.
The crash began when Grosjean’s Lotus squeezed Lewis Hamilton onto the grass; the out-of-control 2008 Champion then hit the back of the Frenchman. The pair slid into both Sergio Pérez and Alonso at high-speed, with Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado suddenly becoming more innocent victims. The cars of Grosjean, Hamilton and Alonso all went skyward in what was one of the biggest impacts of the season.
“It was lucky in a way because everything on top of the car was broken,” Alonso explained later in the afternoon, having watched the remainder of the race from the Ferrari garage. “I couldn’t understand how it had happened until I saw the replays on TV. I didn’t know how a car could have been on top of mine so quickly.
“I first saw Pastor – he had obviously jumped the start because he was already P2 or P3 when the lights were still on. My own start was good. I started to turn and it just felt like a train had hit me – it was a big, big hit…I stayed in the car for a few seconds because I had pain in my back, but then I jumped out because there was some fire and I couldn’t breathe because of the smoke.”
Naturally disappointed to miss out on Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record of race finishes, Alonso added that he is pleased to be able to return to driving by as soon as Friday. At Spa, Grosjean is likely to receive a weighty penalty for today’s crash.
Reactions from Romain Grosjean, Sergio Pérez and Lewis Hamilton:
Drivers fortunate to escape La Source pile-up