Alfa Romeo rookie Zhou Guanyu was involved in a heavy crash at the start of the British Grand Prix which saw the young Chinese driver sent sliding through the turn 1 gravel trap upside down. It stemmed from a multi-car collision that occurred before the field had cleared the opening turn.
While the safety team worked to extract Zhou from his Alfa Romeo, T-cam footage appeared to show Zhou being touched in the right-rear by George Russell after Russell had tipped the front end of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri, pitching the car up and onto its lid well before the braking point for turn 1.
Zhou’s car was seen sliding upside down toward the turn 1 barrier at considerable speed and the race was promptly red flagged as Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon, Alex Albon and Russell also took on considerable damage in the accident.
The moment Zhou Guanyu's Alfa Romeo rolled over in a horror opening lap crash at Silverstone. 🎥pic.twitter.com/utcmr5aJnB
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 3, 2022
Zhou was eventually extracted from the car and taken to an ambulance via stretcher. Zhou was visibly conscious and moving his extremities upon being transferred to an ambulance for examination at the circuit’s medical center. Zhou has since been confirmed as having no major injuries after further observation.
Meanwhile, Albon was taken to the hospital after contact from Sebastian Vettel caused him to bounce his nose off the right-side wall. He then was hit twice while sliding through turn 1. Williams Racing tweeted that it was for precautionary checks.
Alex has been transferred by helicopter to Coventry Hospital for precautionary checks following the opening lap incident. We will provide updates when available.#WeAreWilliams
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) July 3, 2022
While Zhou was safely removed from his car, the race was not yet clear to resume as the car dug in while sliding through the gravel trap, flipping multiple times and landing between the turn 1 tire barrier and the catch fence separating the track from the crowd.
While Zhou’s car sat upside down between the barriers, several spectators were observed trying to breach the safety fence and enter the track.
FIA and F1 statement: "We can confirm that after the red flag, several people attempted to enter the track. These people were immediately removed and the matter is now being dealt with by the local authorities."#F1 #BritishGP
— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) July 3, 2022
Russell also exited his Mercedes briefly to check on Zhou before he was extracted from the Alfa Romeo.
Zhou is currently in his debut season with Alfa Romeo, having earned a best qualifying position of ninth at this week’s British Grand Prix, and best finish of 10th in Bahrain.
About the author
Alex is the IndyCar Editor at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also leads the Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at the BIED Society, an international think tank in Washington, D.C. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.
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