'I had to get out for my children' says Grosjean in first post-Bahrain interview

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Romain Grosjean says his family dominated his thoughts in those frantic seconds following the horrific crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

On Tuesday, the Haas driver gave his first interview since the events of Sunday, which saw his car burst into flames upon making impact with the barriers at almost 140mph on the opening lap.

Thankfully, Grosjean was able to escape with only a few burns on his hands and a sprained ankle, and talking through the accident, admits having flashbacks to one of Formula 1's most notorious crashes.

"I did not lose consciousness," he said to France's TF1. "To get out of the seat, I was able to remove my seat belt, the steering wheel was no longer there, it probably flew off during the impact.

"I saw my visor all orange, the flames around me, and the accident of Niki Lauda [at the Nurburgring in 1976] came to mind. I didn't want to end up like that."

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The Austrian, who died last year, was left permanently scarred after the crash, which saw him stranded inside his burning Ferrari.

It was then, however, that Grosjean admitted his family really motivated him to escape as quickly as he could.

"I had to get out for my children. In the end, my hands were burnt and I have a big sprain, while I thought I had broken my foot," he explained.

"I was more afraid for my relatives, my children in the first place, but also my father and my mother. I was not really afraid for myself. I saw death coming, I had no other option but to get out of there.

"Even in Hollywood, it does not exist. I spent 28 seconds in the flames but it seemed much longer to me as I tried to get out of the tub three times. After this accident, I'm happy to be alive.

"My little boy Simon, who is five years old, told me that I had a magic power, a magic shield of love that protected me."

That magic shield may well have been the Halo, which was introduced back in 2018 following the accident in Japan six years ago which ultimately led to the death of Jules Bianchi the following summer.

"Without the halo, I would no longer be there," said Grosjean. "I think Jules didn't want me up there.

"This is like a rebirth for me. I will be marked for life by this accident."

Earlier in the day, Haas chief Guenther Steiner claimed the 34-year-old is focused on recovering in time to compete at next weekend's Abu Dhabi GP, which would mark his final race in F1.

"I want to finish my story in F1 differently. The Romain Grosjean before would never have said this but, if I do Abu Dhabi, I will be happy even if I finish 20th," he said laughing.

"Even if it's complicated for those close to me, it's a need for me to get back into a Formula 1 car, to see where I am, if I can continue to drive."