Retired Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa has praised the Halo cockpit protection device following a huge opening lap crash at the Belgian grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg misjudged his braking point and careered into the back of Fernando Alonso at La Source, pitching the Spaniard’s McLaren over the top of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber.

All three drivers were out of the race on the spot but all emerged unscathed from the incident, with replays showing Alonso’s MCL33 making contact with the Halo on Leclerc’s car.

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The FIA began its push for increased protection around drivers heads after Massa suffered life-threatening injuries after being hit by a spring at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, while the deaths of Formula 2 driver Henry Surtees – resulting from being struck by a loose wheel – and Jules Bianchi in 2015, following a collision with a recovery vehicle during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, also played a big role.

“After seeing this, we can say the Halo is beautiful!” Massa Tweeted.

2016 F1 champion Nico Rosberg echoed Massa’s comments on social media, adding the accident has put to bed any debate over the introduction of Halo, which was marred in controversy.

FIA president Jean Todt was another who took to social media following the incident, stating “that’s why we introduced the Halo.” Leclerc admitted he felt “lucky” to have the Halo above him, while Alonso praised the role the device played.

Massa also took aim at IndyCar following a huge recent crash involving Robert Wickens at Pocono and called upon the series to do more in improving safety standards.

“When you see all the accidents that happens in F1 and IndyCar in the last years, we can say that F1 is always trying to improve with (Halo, track changes, virtual safety car etc to improve safety) and IndyCar is not doing much,” he Tweeted.

“It’s unbelievable to see a circuit like Pocono, average speed around 360km and you see the walls lower like that, with the fences, so so dangerous for the safety!!! Sorry to say that, but they need to look for safety of the drivers.”

 

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