Leclerc immediately 'thought the worst' after Grosjean crash

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Charles Leclerc admits he immediately "thought the worst" after seeing Romain Grosjean's car burst into flames at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Haas driver hit the barriers at just under 140mph on the opening lap, with the 53G impact causing his car to split in half and the subsequent fire.

Thankfully, Grosjean was able to escape with just minor burns to his hands and is now out of hospital, indeed returning to the Sakhir Circuit on Thursday although he won't race this weekend.

But commenting on the accident, Leclerc admitted the minutes "felt like hours" for news as he feared for Grosjean's life.

“I saw the crash in my mirrors, was aware straight away that it was extremely serious and I thought the worst straight away," he told the BBC.

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“I have to be honest, I didn’t have much hope only watching it in the mirrors and I was extremely worried on the radio.

“Unfortunately, there was no news until I got back into the pits and got out of the car to finally know he was out, which I couldn’t really believe, especially because coming into Turn 9, I saw the flames and the fire.”

Leclerc is particularly sensitive to such accidents after the deaths of his Godfather Jules Bianchi in 2015 and friend Anthoine Hubert last year in Belgium.

But asked how he was able to refocus and race after the crash, the Monegasque admits seeing Grosjean walk away was particularly relieving.

“I just put myself in my bubble as I always do and tried to focus on my own thing,” the Ferrari driver explained.

“There are a lot of things you need to have in mind before an F1 race, which is the strategy, how you want to attack in the first laps and all these things.

“I was just focusing on those things to achieve the best result, trying to not think about the crash any more, mostly because I knew Romain was out of the car and fine to the extent he could walk by himself to the ambulance.

“So I was just focusing on my own race after that and trying not to think about the crash any more.”

Gro Lec

Leclerc also revealed he has been in contact with Grosjean since Sunday.

“I sent him two messages. The first one, I don’t think he saw it because probably he received thousands of messages and the second one he replied, probably because he could write again, as I have seen on social media that they took off his bandages," he said.

“He was able to text again and I was happy and he seems to do fine. I didn’t go to see him at the hospital because I expected lots of people there and I didn’t want to bother him.”