The sight of the hefty again tyre of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Formula One automobile crashing down in the direction of the helmet of Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix made for sickening viewing.
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The seven-time world champion was beached in his Mercedes, however in the end saved by his halo, a cockpit head safety system launched in March 2018.
“Honestly, I feel very fortunate,” said Lewis Hamilton.
“Thank God for the halo, that in the end, I feel, saved me, and saved my neck.
“I don’t suppose I’ve ever been hit on the head by a automobile earlier than and it’s fairly a shock for me, as a result of I don’t know when you’ve seen the picture however my head actually is sort of far ahead.
“And I’ve been racing a long, long time, so I’m so, so grateful that I’m still here.”
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Verstappen was blamed by the Monza stewards for the dramatic airborne crash with Hamilton.
The Red Bull driver, who leads Hamilton by 5 factors in the Formula One standings however should now serve a three-place grid penalty at the Russian Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time, had tried to muscle previous Hamilton who had simply rejoined the monitor after a pit cease on lap 26.
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But Verstappen’s automobile, pushed onto the sausage kerb at the Turn One chicane, ended up with its again wheel rolling over the prime of his rival’s Mercedes. The halo protected Hamilton’s head.
Mercedes workforce principal Toto Wolff had as soon as threatened to take a chainsaw to the security system if he might, due to its weight.
But he struck a special tone after watching Hamilton escape unscathed.
“The championship was good fun up until now but we saw the halo save Lewis’ life today. We don’t want to see someone seriously hurt,” Wolff stated in Monza.
The halo, a thong-like titanium and carbon fibre structure above the cockpit weighing lower than 10kg and able to resisting two tonnes, was extremely divisive when it was launched.
Team principals, drivers and followers have been cut up over whether or not it was the proper security resolution when it made its debut forward of the 2018 season opener at the Melbourne Grand Prix.
After years of analysis and growth, motorsport’s governing physique, the FIA, settled on the halo to guard drivers from flying particles following the deaths of Jules Bianchi, who died 9 months after crashing at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, and Justin Wilson, who was killed in an IndyCar race in the US the following year.
Motor racing purists have been aghast as a result of they are saying grand prix racing is meant to be an open-cockpit method. Other followers moan it’s simply plain ugly and a few drivers have complained it restricts imaginative and prescient.
Lewis Hamilton, talking in Melbourne after the halo’s introduction in 2018, stated: “We have known for some time it was coming and I think after a few races we will forget it is even there.”
The halo is the newest in a protracted listing of Formula One security measures launched in the wake of Ayrton Senna’s demise in 1994.
That year noticed the cockpit lengthened and bolstered and the suspension strengthened. The subsequent season, 1995, introduced larger norms for crash checks.
In 1996, the safety spherical the driver’s head was bolstered and two years later the wheels have been hooked up to the automobile by tethers to cease them flying off.
A head and neck help system (HANS), which hooked up the helmet to the shoulders and is designed to guard the backbone, was launched in 2003.
It was adopted in 2018 by the halo to guard a driver’s head.
French driver Romain Grosjean had a spectacular crash at the Bahrain Formula One race final year, however survived due to what he stated was the halo.
“I wasn’t for the halo some years ago but I think it’s the greatest thing we brought to Formula 1 and without it I wouldn’t be able to speak to you today,” Grosjean stated at the time.
George Russell, who will be part of Hamilton at Mercedes subsequent season, additionally credited the halo with saving him from serious injury after he was hit by a bouncing wheel in the Belgian Grand Prix final year.