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Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo’s bursts into flames during Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

Formula One held its breath once again on Friday after Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo was engulfed in flames during practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Raikkonen was navigating his way around the Yas Marina circuit when an engine malfunction quickly sounded the alarm and required urgent action, as embers could be seen flashing from the rear of the vehicle.

The Finnish racer could be seen attempting to pull over his Alfa Romeo when it suddenly burst into flames, causing panic to spread among those present.

A collective relief could be felt around the track as the 41-year-old was able to quickly and safely emerge from the car, before helping circuit safety marshals extinguish the flames.

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Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo had a malfunction and was quickly engulfed at Yas Marina

Raikkonen moved quickly but was able to safely exit his vehicle and evade the flames

Raikkonen moved quickly but was able to safely exit his vehicle and evade the flames

An engine malfunction flagged up warnings, with embers soon seen from within the Alfa

An engine malfunction flagged up warnings, with embers soon seen from within the Alfa

The 41-year-old was able to safely leave the car and even helped marshals put out the blaze

The 41-year-old was able to safely leave the car and even helped marshals put out the blaze

Raikkonen's vehicle camera picked up the moment flames exploded from the rear of the car

Raikkonen’s vehicle camera picked up the moment flames exploded from the rear of the car

Raikkonen quickly composed himself despite those present initially fearing the worst

 Raikkonen quickly composed himself despite those present initially fearing the worst

The 2007 world champion quickly emerged from his cockpit before helping the marshals and retreating safely to the side of the track.

The session was then red-flagged for a dozen minutes as Raikkonen’s chargrilled car was moved to safety.

Upon its resumption, returning champion Lewis Hamilton was beaten to top spot by Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Abu Dhabi.

The seven-time world champion was sidelined from last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after he contracted coronavirus, and returned finishing 0.203 seconds behind Bottas.

Raikkonen’s terrifying incident also comes just weeks after Romain Grosjean’s 140mph fireball horror crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix, which left the sport reeling. 

Grosjean slammed into a steel circuit barrier at 137mph and immediately turned into a ball of fire as a result.

The incident comes just weeks after Romain Grosjean was involved in a horror Bahrain crash

The incident comes just weeks after Romain Grosjean was involved in a horror Bahrain crash

Grosjean's car hit and pierced through a crash barrier mid-race before bursting into flames

Grosjean’s car hit and pierced through a crash barrier mid-race before bursting into flames

Shocking images show the moment Grosjean managed to pull himself from the flames

Shocking images show the moment Grosjean managed to pull himself from the flames 

The Frenchman miraculously escaped after being trapped in his vehicle for several seconds

The Frenchman miraculously escaped after being trapped in his vehicle for several seconds

The shocking and disturbing scenes led many to believe Grosjean would not emerge from the crash, with the Frenchman himself later emotionally admitting he had made peace with the fact he was going to die.

But Grosjean, a 34-year-old father of three, miraculously survived after being able to wriggle free from the cockpit after 28 seconds inside the inferno.

Grosjean was left with only minor injuries, and was able to speak of the terrifying ordeal just one week on.

‘For me, it wasn’t 28 seconds,’ said Grosjean. ‘It felt more like a minute and 30.

‘The car stops, I open my eyes, I undo the seatbelt and I want to jump out.

‘I hit something on top of my helmet, so I sit back down and think I must be upside down against the barrier, so I’ll wait until they come and help me.

‘I looked to my right, looked to my left, and it was all orange. ‘That’s strange,’ I thought. 

Grosjean suffered burns to his hands after putting his hands on the car which was on fire

Grosjean suffered burns to his hands after putting his hands on the car which was on fire

Photos of the crash defied belief, with many people certain the Haas driver wouldn't survive

Photos of the crash defied belief, with many people certain the Haas driver wouldn’t survive

The 34-year-old miraculously managed to make an escape after his car was torn in half

The 34-year-old miraculously managed to make an escape after his car was torn in half

The area of the track where Grosjean crashed showed the raw force of the high-speed contact

The area of the track where Grosjean crashed showed the raw force of the high-speed contact 

‘A few things came into my head. Is it sunset? No. Is it the light from the circuit? No. Then I realised it was fire. So I knew I didn’t have time to wait to be rescued.

‘I tried to push myself up, a bit more to the right. Doesn’t work. A bit more to the left.

‘Doesn’t work. So I sit back down. Then there’s a bit of swearing going on. And I said, “No, I can’t finish like this”.

‘I thought about Niki Lauda, the driver I love most in the history of Formula One. I said, “I can’t finish like Niki (who suffered terrible burns when his Ferrari caught fire at the Nurburgring in 1976)”.

‘So I tried again. I’m stuck. And then the part which is most scary. I sit back down, all my muscles relax, and I was almost at peace with myself, thinking, “I’m dead. I will die”.

‘And then I thought, which part is going to burn first? Is it the foot? Is it the hands? Is it going to be painful? A very, very strange feeling. Death was right in front of my face. I named it Benoit. Don’t ask me why. I just had to put a name on it.

‘I don’t know if that moment allowed me to recover a bit, try to think of another solution, but I thought about my kids (Sacha, seven, Simon, five, Camille, two) and I said, “No. I cannot die today. For my kids, I cannot die today”. 


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