Formula 1 has seen some incredible stories over it’s lifespan. Colin Chapman’s revolutionary cars, Enzo Ferrari’s passion for motorsport, Niki Lauda’s miraculous recovery, Michael Schumacher’s astonishing career, Ayrton Senna’s amazing character and many others. A great story almost always has the protagonist fighting against the odds from a position of chaos and uncertainty to one of success.
It was the final race of the 1995 season, at Adelaide. The Australian Grand Prix was moving to Melbourne the following year resulting in crowds of big numbers. During Friday’s qualifying session, Mika Häkkinen’s left rear tyre exploded as he entered the fast Malt house corner which sent him sideways into the tyre barriers.
Häkkinen suffered a fractured skull and a severe concussion. He was given a trackside emergency cricothyroidotomy and was immediately taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital which was only about 200 meters away from where he crashed. After gaining conscious, he was soon responding well to his friends and the doctors.
He made a successful recovery with no neural damage and returned to Formula 1 the very next year, after spending 2 months in the hospital. He earned 3 podium finished for McLaren in ’96 and won his first Grand Prix at the last race of the ’97 season. Häkkinen also famously won the Drivers’ World Championship in ’98 and ’99 and was runner up to Michael Schumacher in 2000.