Nico Hulkenberg walked away without injury despite being trapped when his Renault caught fire at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on this day in 2018.
World champion Lewis Hamilton ended the year with an 11th victory, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished second and third respectively under the lights of the Yas Marina circuit.
But the dead-rubber race is remembered for Hulkenberg’s opening-lap crash.
The #AbuDhabiGP is about to resume full racing after a Safety Car stoppage for this Nico Hulkenberg crash…
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) November 25, 2018
The German somersaulted through the air following a collision with Romain Grosjean at the ninth bend, before landing the wrong way up and precariously against the tyre barriers.
Flames briefly billowed from the back of his yellow Renault, with Hulkenberg unable to get out.
“I’m hanging like a cow,” the panicked driver said over the radio. “Get me out. There is fire. There is fire!”
Safety marshals dashed to the scene before the flames went out and, after more than three minutes, they gingerly flipped the car back on to four wheels.
Then aged 31, the driver was assisted to the medical centre where the FIA reported he was shaken but had escaped the incident unharmed.
“It was not the most comfortable situation to be in,” Hulkenberg said. “There was a little barbeque at the back, so I just wanted to get out. You feel pretty helpless.”
Hulkenberg will drive for Haas next season after the team confirmed earlier this month he would be replacing Mick Schumacher.
The 35-year-old Hulkenberg has been without a full-time seat on the grid since 2019 but, following a number of substitute appearances in recent seasons, he will team up with Kevin Magnussen in 2023.