Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari won its first Formula 1 race on Sunday in the most dramatic race yet this season. It started with the terrifying crash on the first lap and ended with intense wheel-to-wheel battles for the podium places.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez took second and home favorite Lewis Hamilton finished third ahead of an improving Mercedes team.
The titanium halo was introduced by Formula 1 in 2018, initially against some resistance from drivers who disliked the appearance of the protective ring around what was previously a fully open cockpit.
It has since been credited with saving a number of lives in serious incidents.
Emergency services were quickly on the scene to retrieve the Chinese rookie, whose high-speed car skidded upside down on the track before bouncing over gravel and tipping over the shock-absorbing tire wall.
Photos showed him lying crumpled on his side, leaning crookedly into the space between the fence and the barrier with the halo protecting the driver’s helmet.
It was the second time on Sunday that the halo had saved a driver from serious injury, and probably worse.
Roy Nissany was protected by it when Norwegian Dennis Hauger’s car flew off during a morning race and landed on the Israeli Formula 2 driver’s halo.
Williams driver Alexander Albon also became involved in the Grand Prix carnage and was flown by helicopter to hospital in Coventry for precautionary checks.
George Russell of Mercedes got out of his broken down car and ran to Zhou to check.
The Briton turned out to have been cut from behind by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, the Mercedes tire then made contact with the Alfa.
“I was overrun by other cars and before I knew it I was touched, I was in the side of Zhou and that was it,” said Russell.
Television replays of the crash were not broadcast until it was clear that Zhou had been safely removed and was conscious.
Associated Press contributed†