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'No doubt' that F1 dodged a fatality - Salo

Mika Salo says a simple driver miscalculation caused Romain Grosjean's horror and fiery crash in Bahrain last Sunday.

Mika Salo says a simple driver miscalculation caused Romain Grosjean's horror and fiery crash in Bahrain last Sunday.

With the Frenchman set to leave hospital on Tuesday after suffering burns on his hands and feet, a detailed investigation of the crash will now begin.

"The accident looked unusual but I am very glad that everything is alright with Romain," said Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

"We will discuss everything in detail at the next driver briefing, but I am sure that appropriate conclusions will be drawn about the design of the barrier and the causes of the fire."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said F1 also needs to understand "why the car broke in two", adding: "But hats off to everyone involved because the driver walked away from a huge accident."

What is unanimous in the paddock is that the once-controversial Halo device saved Grosjean's life.

"Yes, it is our opinion at least that the Halo was what saved Grosjean's life," confirmed former F1 driver Mika Salo, who was a steward last weekend in Bahrain.

"It opened up the armco fence so that the car could fit in between. In my time, there would have been no doubt that the driver could not have survived."

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve also thinks Grosjean can thank the Halo.

"It did its job and he is safe because of it," he said.

"But I think the drivers are sometimes not aware enough of how dangerous it is to race which is why they sometimes do moves like it's a video game."

Salo told the Finnish broadcaster MTV that he thinks Grosjean was fundamentally to blame for the crash at the end of a sequence of events.

"Stroll went off the track, and when he returned, everyone behind him had to lift. Kimi then moved and Grosjean saw an opportunity when there was a small hole on the right. He went for it and hit Kvyat's front wheel," he said.

He said Grosjean was lucky to remain conscious once his car went up in flames.

"It is quite individual how you withstand such shocks so thank God Romain has a good tolerance for not losing consciousness. He acted really fast.

"We all looked at it and thought it couldn't be true that he had survived."

Another former F1 driver, Olivier Panis, said Grosjean can also thank recent advances in the fire-retardant clothing worn by the drivers.

"Every year it progresses," he told RTBF, "but as the blaze was 27 seconds we can see how efficient they are now."

Finally, Ralf Schumacher said Formula 1 drivers are unique in the way they are able to bounce back from big crashes.

"When I see a race in Monaco these days, with the narrow guard rails, I wonder how I did it," he told Sky Deutschland. "I admit that I couldn't do it today.

"I remember when I had my accident and I couldn't drive for three months - but I couldn't wait. I will never forget how I came back at Silverstone and set the fastest time ever after six laps.

"It might be wiser to think 'Ok, I've had my luck now but that might be it'."

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Romain Grosjean is helped away after his horror crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix on November 29, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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