Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Zhou Guanyu escapes major injury after ‘horrific’ first-lap crash at Silverstone

Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu crashes on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix (Tim Goode/PA)
Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu crashes on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix (Tim Goode/PA)

Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu escaped serious injury in an extraordinary opening-lap crash at the British Grand Prix after his car flipped upside down and slammed into the catch fencing in front of thousands of shocked fans.

The Formula One rookie was approaching the 160mph opening Abbey corner when British driver George Russell tagged the right rear of Zhou’s machine, sending him on to his roof and sliding out of control.

Upside down, Zhou continued through the gravel before he slammed into the tyre barrier and was launched into the fencing.

Zhou’s Alfa Romeo was lodged on its side, between the tyre wall and the fencing, with nearby fans and photographers ducking for cover following the impact.

An extraction team rushed to Zhou and the 23-year-old Chinese driver, in just his 10th race, was carefully removed and taken away in an ambulance to the medical centre.

Russell was also seen dashing to check on his friend, the Williams driver Alex Albon who was also caught up in the accident, and then Zhou’s condition.

“I’m glad to see Zhou okay. It was an horrific incident,” Russell told Sky Sports.

Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou crashes on the first lap of the British Grand Prix
Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu crashes on the first lap of the British Grand Prix (Frank Augstein/AP).

The Mercedes driver, who was not permitted to restart the race, added: “I jumped out of the car to see that Zhou was ok. When got back to car I couldn’t restart it. As soon as you get outside assistance you cannot restart the race.”

Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon were also involved in the frenetic first moments of Sunday’s race, with both drivers limping back to the pits for repairs and able to take part in the restart.

A radio message to Zhou’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas said: “Zhou is conscious. He is talking. There are no fractures and, considering the circumstances, he is pretty good, pretty well.”

Williams driver Alex Albon is helped from his damaged car
Williams driver Alex Albon is helped from his damaged car (Matt Dunham/AP).

The FIA confirmed “no major injuries” were sustained in the accident.

Having been kept at the medical centre for observation, Zhou was declared fit and released.

London-born Albon was transferred by helicopter to Coventry Hospital for precautionary checks, while Russell was checked by medical staff and declared fit.

The race was immediately red-flagged, but as the cars made their way back to the pits, five protesters stormed the circuit at the 200mph Wellington Straight before sitting down.

Track workers remove the car of Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu after his first-lap crash
Track workers remove the car of Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu after his first-lap crash (Frank Augstein/AP).

The protesters were dragged away by marshals as a number of drivers sped by.

An FIA spokesperson said: “We 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.”

Following a delay of 53 minutes the race restarted.

Northamptonshire Police said they had made a number of arrests.

Protestors stormed the circuit at Silverstone before sitting down on the track
Protesters stormed the circuit at Silverstone before sitting down (Helena Hicks/PA).

They said on Twitter: “We can confirm that after the red flag, a number of people entered the track.

“All have been removed safely and a number of arrests have been made.

“We continue to ask people to be extra vigilant and report anything suspicious to us.”