F1 managing director Ross Brawn was surprised that the barriers failed and that there was a fireball.
Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean suffered burns to the back of both hands and remains hospitalized for a second day in Bahrain.
F1 safety crews were on the scene in less than a minute and Grosjean miraculously got out of the car in 28 seconds.
Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn was critical of safety systems that failed Sunday in Romain Grosjean's fiery crash on the first lap of the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix.
While Brawn was quick to praise safety workers and the halo safety device for saving the Haas F1 Team driver's life, he was also searching for answers to questions that will be addressed by F1 and the FIA in the coming months.
"Undoubtedly, we've got to do a very deep analysis of all the events that occurred because there were a number of things that shouldn't have happened," Brawn said in a televised interview with Sky TV after the race. "The fire was worrying, the split of the barriers was worrying. I think the positives were the safety of the car, and that's what pulled us through today."
Brawn said that he was surprised at the failure of the barrier that split and allowed Grosjean's car to penetrate. On the other hand, had Grosjean's car not penetrated the barrier, he could have possibly been trapped inside the car during the inferno that developed.
As it turned out, Grosjean was able to free himself and get out of the car in what officials estimated was 28 seconds. Grosjean was hospitalized in Bahrain for burns to the back of both hands.
"Barriers splitting was a classic problem many years ago," Brawn said. "Normally, it resulted in a fatality. There's absolutely no doubt that the halo was the factor that saved the day. It saved Romain.
"If you recall, there quite a lot of controversy at the time about introducing (the halo), and I don't think now, especially after today, (anyone) can doubt the validity of that and devalue it. Hats off to everyone involved because it was a lifesaver today."
Brawn added that he was interested in seeing the final g force load in the crash.
"I think there was quite a high g load, as well," he said. "We have to look at how everything failed, because everything is designed to fail in the progression. But in a crash that catastrophic, obviously things failed in unpredicted ways. Obviously, the car came apart.
"We had a fuel fire, which is something we haven't had for a very long time. With fuel cells incredibly strong, I suspect that came from a ruptured connection. We need to look at it. Surprisingly, it looked a big fire, but those cars are carrying 100 kilos of fuel at that stage. I think if 100 kilos had gone up, we would have had a massive fire. So, for me, that was a fire of a few kilos of fuel, not 100 kilos."
Officials will study as much data as possible this week, as the the series is back in action in Bahrain again this week as part of a two-week doubleheader for the sport.
"For sure, there will be some very careful scrutiny between now and the next race," Brawn said. "Any information we can gather between now and the next race we will do so, and I'm sure the action will be taken that needs to be done. It's something we haven't seen for a very long time. The safety standards at the circuits are exceptional, but today we saw something we didn't predict."
Drivers watched the aftermath of the crash from their pits on monitors during the red-flag period that stopped the race for well over an hour. At least most of the drivers, anyway.
"I haven't looked at images a lot because I didn't really want to," Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said. "The main thing is he got out. I don't know how to be honest. But obviously, the guard rail is not supposed to fail like that.
"It's good that the cars are safer than they used to be in the past, but the guard rail shouldn't fail, and the car shouldn't catch fire in that fashion. There's a lot of precautions that it doesn't catch fire. I don't know what happened there. It's difficult to say at this stage, but the main thing is he got out."
As for Sergio Perez, who was fighting for a podium finish before his Racing Point engine gave out with four laps to go, the crash put racing in perspective.
"When I had to retire, it was a big hit, personally, but after what happened today, you really put everything in perspective," Perez said. "For me, one podium less, one podium more. It doesn't matter. The more important of the day is that Roman is with is.
"We have to see what we are to improve on the safety side because we don't want to see those kinds of accidents."
Hamilton went on to win his 95th career race, beating the Red Bull pair of runner-up Max Verstappen and third-place Alex Albon. The race ended under a Safety Car after Perez's car came to a stop on the circuit with four laps to go. Perez was running in the top three at the time of the engine failure.
F1 Bahrain Grand Prix
(Race finished under Safety Car)
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 57 laps
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +1.2 seconds
Alex Albon, Red Bull, +8.0 secs.
Lando Norris, McLaren, +11.3 secs.
Carlos Sainz, McLaren, +11.7 secs.
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, +11.9 secs.
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, +19.3 secs.
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, +19.6 secs.
Esteban Ocon, Renault, +22.8 secs.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 1 lap
George Russell, Williams, 1 lap
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1 lap
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, 1 lap
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, 1 lap
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, 1 lap
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1 lap
Sergio Perez, Racing Point, 4 laps
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, 55 laps
Romain Grosjean, Haas, 57 laps
Romain Grosjean will forever be remembered for his great escape from the fireball in Bahrain. Was that the most amazing exit, or what? Jump into the conversation in the comments section below.