Zhou was upended after contact from Mercedes’ George Russell, before careening through the gravel trap at high speed and eventually coming to a stop between a tire barrier and the catch fencing behind it.
The race was immediately red-flagged, and marshals spent several minutes trying to extract Zhou from the wreckage safely after establishing that he wasn’t seriously hurt.
He was eventually transferred to the medical center for further checks, and was later released after being declared fit. Meanwhile, Williams driver Alex Albon was helicoptered to hospital for precautionary checks following a separate shunt further down the field, though he, too, has been given the all clear.
“I want to thank the marshals and the medical team at Silverstone, they were really fantastic,” said Zhou on social media, adding that he was “keener than ever to get back on track” in Austria next weekend.
Though it was contact with Russell that caused the crash, the British driver was blameless after he and Zhou had inadvertently squeezed AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, with the Frenchman unable to avoid tagging Russell’s left rear wheel.
And Russell drew praise for his reaction after the incident, scrambling out of his car and sprinting over to Zhou to check that his rival was ok.
It was the second time the halo device had been called into action in a matter of hours, after Williams reserve driver Roy Nissany somehow escaped injury after Prema’s Dennis Hauger was launched across his cockpit in the earlier Formula 2 race. It was Nissany who forced Hauger off track to begin with, and he was later punished with three penalty points and a five-place grid drop.
Aren’t we all now glad that the halo was introduced in 2018, despite the widespread opposition to it at the time? It has now played a role in saving Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, and of course Romain Grosjean in F1 alone, not to mention various incidents in F2, F3 and W Series as well.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.