George Russell was left feeling grateful for the halo head protection device fitted to his Williams Formula One car after an impact with the bouncing wheel of Antonio Giovinazzi’s crashed Alfa Romeo sent him out of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
“It is frustrating, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was nothing we could do,” said the Briton.
“I went to the left to avoid Antonio’s car and then his wheel came from nowhere and hit the front of my car, which pushed me into the wall. It was quite a big impact, but I am OK.
“I feel very fortunate to have the halo on the car as it could have gone quite near my helmet.”
The halo, a three-point titanium structure which was introduced in 2018 to protect drivers’ heads from debris like flying wheels, has proved effective on several occasions.
Giovinazzi was ahead of Russell when his car snapped out of control at the exit of the Spa-Francorchamps track’s fast Fagnes chicane. It hit the barriers, shedding the wheel that Russell hit, before rebounding across the track.
The incident, which took place a year after Formula Two racer Anthoine Hubert’s fatal accident in which he was struck by another car after rebounding off the barriers at the Spa circuit’s Eau Rouge corner, left debris strewn across the track and brought out the safety car.
“I feel sorry for the team as they deserved a good result this weekend, and of course also for George,” said Giovinazzi.
“I was on the limit and when you’re there, sometimes mistakes can happen.”