Halo protects Charles Leclerc as Alonso goes over the top

Formula One breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday after the sport’s new ‘halo’ head protection device saved Charles Leclerc from what might have been a potentially serious impact.

His Sauber car bore the scars instead, tyre marks showing where Fernando Alonso’s McLaren had bashed against the bodywork and halo as it flew over the 20-year-old Monegasque rookie’s head.

“We can end the HALO discussion now. It will save lives,” tweeted 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg after seeing the images.

The ring-like ‘halo’ was introduced this season to protect the drivers’ exposed helmets from precisely such sideways glancing impacts as well as frontal blows.

“I felt the impact and looking at the image it is quite spectacular. It was lucky,” said Leclerc, whose family have close ties with that of the late French driver Jules Bianchi who died of head injuries in 2015.

Formula One race director Charlie Whiting said the governing FIA would be contacting Sauber for more information about any damage to the halo.

Hulkenberg was handed a 10 place grid penalty for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix for causing the collision that brought out the safety car.

The collision was reminiscent of one in 2012 that also involved Alonso, that time with Romain Grosjean’s Lotus-Renault flying onto the double world champion’s Ferrari at the same La Source corner.

Grosjean was fined and handed a one-race ban as a result.

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