The British Grand Prix lasts only a few seconds, then the red flag follows. Guanyu Zhou flies off dramatically in the Alfa Romeo and lands in the safety fence behind the stacks of tires. Luckily, after long minutes of waiting, the all-clear is sounded.
The international direction of Formula 1 keeps the viewers waiting for almost 25 minutes, which becomes understandable the moment the first reruns roll over the screens. The British Grand Prix (now live on free TV on RTL) is immediately interrupted with a red flag after a serious accident at the start. On the way into the first corner, Guanyu Zhou levered out the Alfa Romeo and turned it around, causing the Chinese to slide with his car at high speed onto the gravel bed.
There the car hurls into the air, over the tire stack, which is supposed to slow down and end such departures, into the safety fence. After anxious minutes, the first official all-clear follows: Zhou is responsive, on his way to the medical center and, given the circumstances, he is doing well. The numerous fans at the Silverstone Circuit expressed their visible relief at the apparently minor outcome of this dramatic accident with applause.
Beat Zehnder, Alfa Romeo's Swiss team boss, says in a first brief interview on Sky: "He speaks and doesn't seem to have any external injuries." The former Sauber racing team then tweeted: "Guanyu Zhou is conscious and is now in the medical center for further examinations." The former Formula 1 driver and current RTL expert Christian Danner meanwhile considers it "a good sign that he was driven by car and not flown by helicopter." A ready-to-fly helicopter is mandatory in Formula 1 to enable rapid medical care in the event of serious injuries. A little later, the world motorsport association FIA announced: "No major injuries", Zhou was released after less than two hours and was even declared "fit".
The following happened shortly after the starting lights went out: George Russell got off badly in the Mercedes, Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri tried to overtake him, but there was a momentous contact. Because Russell loses control of his Silver Arrow, his left front wheel hits Zhou's right rear wheel. The Alfa Romeo takes off, lands on its head and slides almost unchecked in the direction of the gravel bed. This reduces the speed, but also levers the car back into the air.
Zhou rolls over several times, even flying over the stack of tires so that the safety fence only stops the car. All these scenes can only be seen in the live image after Zhou has been carefully rescued from the cockpit. Russell, whose disabled Mercedes coasts to a halt on the asphalt in front of the gravel bed, immediately gets out and runs towards Zhou to check on his well-being. When the first official all-clear leaked out, the relief in view of the dramatic images was great.
Meanwhile, the remaining pilots are waiting in the pit lane for updates on Zhou. When these gradually arrive and the worst fears do not come true, the teams prepare for the restart. This takes place almost an hour after the accident in the original starting grid. Besides Zhou and Russell, Alexander Albon, who hit the pit wall in the Williams and apparently injured his hand or forearm and is therefore flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital as a precaution, is no longer there.