Emergency crews were quickly on the scene to extract Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu, whose car skidded upside down along the track before flipping over the barriers.

A specialist crew attended Zhou who was safely lifted out from his car.
A specialist crew attended Zhou who was safely lifted out from his car. (AP)

The British Grand Prix was red-flagged after a horror opening-corner multi-car smash at Silverstone, with Zhou Guanyu's Alfa Romeo flipped upside down and hurtling over the barrier.

George Russell's Mercedes, Alpine's Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) and the Williams of Alex Albon were also involved in Sunday's crash.

As Max Verstappen pipped pole sitter Carlos Sainz to the first corner there was "carnage" behind with marshalls rushing to Zhou trapped in his stricken car.

A specialist crew attended Zhou who was safely lifted out from his car and carried on a stretcher to an ambulance to take him to the medical centre.

An FIA statement later announced the Chinese driver and Albon were conscious and being evaluated at the medical centre, prompting cheers from the grandstand.

"We are told driver is okay. Zhou is okay," Valtteri Bottas, his Alfa Romeo teammate, was told over the team radio.

The roadworthy members of the grid returned to the pits to wait for the re-start.

"Carnage at turn one and sadly Alex is out," tweeted Williams.

FIA, the governing body for F1, said Zhou and Williams driver Alexander Albon were being medically evaluated.
FIA, the governing body for F1, said Zhou and Williams driver Alexander Albon were being medically evaluated. (AP)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies