The British Grand Prix was stopped before the first lap was completed because Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo wound up on the wrong side of the tyre barriers at Turn 1 as a result of two severe crashes on the pit straight involving numerous drivers.
As soon as emergency workers arrived, Zhou and Williams driver Alex Albon were rushed to the hospital. After precautionary examinations, both were found to be free of serious wounds and released from Coventry Hospital.
A replay showed Pierre Gasly being squeezed between Zhou and George Russell, with Gasly and Russell’s contact sending Russell’s Mercedes into Zhou’s Alfa Romeo.
After being rolled by the force of the second contact, Zhou’s car barrel-rolled into the run-off area and over the barriers before coming to a rest in front of a grandstand due to the catch fence.
Later, Zhou claimed that the Formula One Halo cockpit safety “saved my life.”
The Halo was introduced in F1 ahead of the 2018 season, however many traditionalists opposed it because it marked such a significant departure from the open-air appearance of vehicles.
At the Belgian Grand Prix of that year, the device probably prevented Charles Leclerc from suffering a serious injury. It has also been credited with saving drivers in a number of other incidents, such as Romain Grosjean’s fireball crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2020.
Albon was engaged in a different accident shortly after Zhou’s when he slammed the brakes for the initial crash and Sebastian Vettel piled into the back of his Williams. Albon was sent against the pit wall by the impact before coming back onto the track and running into Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon.
While Zhou, Albon, and Russell were immediately eliminated from the race, Tsunoda, Ocon, and Gasly were able to proceed back to the pits.
The race was red-flagged shortly after the collisions as the leaders approached the Wellington Straight, terminating the race.
Separate from the incidents, protesters also wreaked havoc further around the lap by encroaching on the track.