Fans at the 2022 British Grand Prix were left reeling when Guanyu Zhou’s wrecked car slammed into the fencing following a collision before the very first corner of the race.
After an entanglement involving Mercedes driver George Russell and Williams racer Alex Albon, it was Zhou who paid the heaviest price as chaos erupted and the Chinese driver spun dramatically into the fence some distance away from the track.
As Zhou bundled heavily into the side, several shocked screams can be heard through fan footage recorded of the incident.
Viewers from the stands were helpless as they watched the car storm uncontrollably towards the stand, mere metres below their allocated seating.
The crash was considered severe as soon as it happened, but new footage does show the remarkable distance Zhou travelled as he haplessly spun across the rough.
The race was delayed for an hour after the cars piled up following the incident, with the reg flag issued and Russell and Albon joining the stricken Zhou in race retirement.
The conception and installation of the Halo has been lauded once again, with its sturdy protective nature likely the sole cause behind Zhou’s good fortunes as he emerged from the wreckage largely unscathed.
The Halo is a driver crash-protection system discernible as a curved bar above the driver’s head, significantly reducing the risk of injury to the driver.
Zhou released a response on social media, indeed thanking the framing for preventing serious injury, he said: “I’m ok, all clear. Halo saved me today. Thanks everyone for your kind messages!”
Away from the heavy crash, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz basked in the joy of clinching his first race victory in Formula 1, beating Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling affair that breathed fresh life into the season.
After a series of dominating victories for Max Verstappen, the current champion held a comfortable lead in the overall standings but could only manage seventh at Silverstone after damage to his front wing led to four pit stops on the day.
The Red Bull driver still sits atop the table with 181 points, 34 ahead of teammate Perez and a further nine above Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, but Sunday’s result is a reminder of the erratic nature of the sport, with fortunes changing in the blink of an eye.