SILVERSTONE, England — The British Grand Prix was suspended before the end of the first lap after two huge collisions involving several drivers on the pit straight left Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo in bad shape. side of the tire barriers at turn 1.
Emergency crews were immediately present, with Zhou and Williams’ driver, Alex Albon, having been taken to the medical centre. Both were cleared of serious injuries, but Albon will be transferred to Coventry Hospital for precautionary checks while Zhou was released from the medical center during the race.
A replay showed Pierre Gasly being pinned between George Russell on one side and Zhou on the other, with contact between Gasly and Russell throwing Russell’s Mercedes into Zhou’s Alfa Romeo.
The energy from the second impact rolled Zhou’s car, sending it upside down into the clearing area before it went over the barriers, only to be stopped by the catch fence in front of a grandstand.
Zhou later said that the Formula 1 Halo cockpit protection “saved my life”.
The Halo was introduced to F1 ahead of the 2018 season, but was controversial by many traditionalists as it was such a big step up from the unprotected look of the cars.
The device likely saved Charles Leclerc from serious injury at the Belgian Grand Prix that year and has been credited with saving drivers in several other incidents, including Romain Grosjean’s fireball accident at the Bahrain Grand Prix 2020.
Moments after Zhou’s crash, Albon was involved in another incident, when he braked in the first accident and Sebastian Vettel piled into the back of his Williams. The collision pushed Albon into the pit wall before bouncing around the track and colliding with Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon.
Tsunoda, Ocon and Gasly were able to continue to the pits, while Zhou, Albon and Russell were out of the race on the spot.
Shortly after the collisions, the race was red flagged as the leaders headed down the Wellington straight, suspending the race.
Apart from the collisions, protesters also stormed onto the track further into the lap.
The race was restarted at 3:56 p.m. local time.