George Russell says he was “doomed” whatever he did at Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix in the wake of Antonio Giovinazzi’s crash.
Giovinazzi crashed heavily through Fagnes on lap 10 of the 44-lap race and a wheel detached from his C39, travelling into the path of the pursuit Russell.
Russell struck the wheel, causing damage to the front-right of his car, and was helpless to avoid a secondary impact with the barriers.
Neither driver was injured an incident that led to the only retirements of the race.
“I saw Antonio hit the wall, and managed to have a second to decide whether to go left or right,” he said.
“As I saw him coming out of the wall and sort of staying slightly to the right, I committed to the left, he got flicked over by one of his rear wheels and that launched across and hit my car.
“So I was doomed if I went right, I’d have crashed into him, I was doomed if I went left as I hit his wheel.
“For a split second it was pretty scary seeing that massive rear tyre flying across the circuit with no idea where it was going to go.
“I’m thankful for the halo as I know with hindsight that even if that [wheel] was heading towards me I would have been safe. We’re all very lucky to have that system.”
Russell praised Formula 1’s safety but suggested that further work needs to be undertaken to prevent wheels detaching in accidents where possible.
“The reality is obviously I was unfortunate that it hit my car today but that could hit a marshal or someone in the crowd if they were there,” he said.
“That’s the most important thing: year on year Formula 1 are taking massive steps on safety and from every incident you learn the limitations and obviously this is something that needs to be improved.”