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Formula One driver Romain Grosjean escaped mostly unscathed from a horrific crash during the first lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
After colliding with a steel barrier, the Frenchman's car burst into flames and split in half while he was trapped inside.
In an interview published Friday, Grosjean said when he realized he was trapped, he momentarily accepted dying in the fire, before fighting out for his kids.
Romain Grosjean is alive and well, but for 28 seconds on Sunday, the Formula One driver was all but certain his life was over.
Upon colliding with a steel barrier during the opening lap of Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix, Grosjean found himself trapped inside his car after it split in half and burst into flames. Miraculously, the 34-year-old emerged from the inferno and walked away with minimal injuries.
In an interview published Friday, the Frenchman explained his thought process and how he remained calm in the terrifying moments following his horrifying, fiery crash.
"It's 28 seconds but, for me, it was more like one minute 30," Grosjean said.
After he and the car stopped moving, Grosjean recalled opening his eyes, unfastening his seatbelt, and reaching for his steering wheel, which was missing. He tried to jump out, but he felt a blockage preventing him from breaking through, so he assumed that he was either upside down or pinned up against the barrier.
He resolved to "wait until they come and help me," but it didn't take long for Grosjean to recognize that he couldn't afford to wait for backup.
"I sit back down and then look on the right and look on the left and it's all orange," the driver recalled. "That's strange. A few things: Is it sunset? No, it's not sunset. Is it the light from the circuits? No. Also the tear-off starts to melt."
"Oh, it's fire," he realized.
Grosjean once again tried to force his way out of the burning vehicle to no avail. He admitted that, by that point, there was "a bit of swearing going on." He was stuck.
"I sit back down and all of my muscles relax," Grosjean said. "Almost, not a smile, but [I'm] at peace with myself, thinking 'I'm dead.'"
"Very, very strange feeling," he added.
But after a moment of clarity, Grosjean resolved that the day's contest would not be his final race. He explained that once he thought about his children - ages 7, 5, and 3 - he decided that he needed to see them again and that "I cannot die today."
From there, Grosjean attempted to twist his way up and out of the car. Finally, he broke through, but his left foot was caught on the pedal and preventing him from fully escaping the flames. He had to duck back into the car to free his foot from his shoe, but once he did, he was able to break through.
"At the time, I knew ... I was going to leave," Grosjean recalled. "I know I have two of my hands on the fire... I can see my gloves - they are red normally - start going full black and I can feel the pain and the burn. But I'm going up and then I jump on the barrier."
He described learning that rescuers had arrived as "an extraordinary feeling." Knowing of someone else's presence confirmed to Grosjean that he was, in fact, alive. And shortly after they managed to pull him away from the inferno and out to safety, Grosjean was able to make contact with his wife and assure her that he was alright through laughter and tears.
Check out Grosjean's full recounting of his near-death experience below:
Read the original article on Insider