F1 unites behind divisive Halo after Belgian GP crash

Sauber's Leclerc was also fortunate to emerge from the carnage without injury

There was a major crash at the first turn of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, as Fernando Alonso's McLaren vehicle went flying when hit from behind by Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

Onboard camera showed Alonso's auto flying onto and over the cockpit of Leclerc's vehicle, now protected by the Halo device.

It's the first incident of the sort in F1 to test the merits of the halo since its introduction at the beginning of the 2018 season, and has prompted F1 race director Charlie Whiting to take a closer look in the coming days at how the device held up.

Leclerc, Alonso and Hulkenberg all retired from the race on lap 1, and Kimi Raikkonen later retired due to issues stemming from a lap-1 incident.

The F1 grid will reconvene in Monza on Sunday with Lewis Hamilton now just 17 points ahead of rival Sebastian Vettel following the Ferrari driver's unchallenged victory at Spa-Francorchamps.

The titanium structure built over the cockpit to protect drivers' heads repelled the flying auto of Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard was launched into the air following a shunt from the Renault of Germany's Nico Hülkenberg.

The Monaco driver was lucky to avoid serious injury after Alonso's auto was deflected over his head by the new halo head protection system which has been fitted to all cars this year.

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"First I saw was in the mirror - I saw in the mirror Nico with all four tyres locked, missed the breaking point and then I felt the impact", Alonso said of the accident.

"That gave all the justification", admitted Toto Wolff, who pre-season had admitted to wanting to take a chainsaw to the controversial device.

"But having saved Charles from harm and injury makes it all worth it".

It was similar to the incident which eliminated Alonso from the 2012 race at the same corner, when Romain Grosjean caused a huge accident by also braking at the wrong moment.

The German, also hit with three penalty points on his licence by the stewards, crashed into the back of Alonso to send the McLaren auto hurtling towards Leclerc. "I think for him, it helped, looking at the replay", commented the Spaniard.

"It's sad because you know to miss so much the breaking point is not a couple of metres. I was definitely happier that I had the halo - we don't need to prove that it's a good thing".

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