Massa in intensive care after operation

Ferrari driver Massa has surgery after being hit by debris

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was in intensive care on Saturday after being hit on the head by bouncing debris and crashing heavily in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

Ferrari, the Formula One champions, said in a statement that the Brazilian had emergency surgery at Budapest's AEK hospital which went well. A further update would be issued on Sunday.

Massa suffered a cut forehead, skull damage and concussion in the accident caused by a fist-sized spring weighing around 800 grams falling off compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn seconds earlier.

The accident, which rules Massa out of Sunday's race at the Hungaroring, brought back grim memories of the crash that killed compatriot and triple champion Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994.

It also followed the death last Sunday of Briton Henry Surtees, 18-year-old son of Ferrari's 1964 Formula One champion John, who was killed by a loose wheel hitting him on the head in a race at Brands Hatch.

Massa's red car, leaving streaking brake marks across the asphalt, ploughed straight on at turn four and into the tyre wall.

The Brazilian, who appeared to have been knocked unconscious before the car left the track, was extracted and taken by ambulance to the circuit medical centre and then by helicopter to hospital.

Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport website (http://www.gazzetta.it) showed a photograph of the driver with his visor half ripped off and a bloody gash over his closed left eye.

A shaken Barrichello went to see his compatriot at the medical centre. "I wanted to see him myself because I've been in situations like that," he said.

"We are Brazilians and sometimes we have a family, sometimes we don't, and when we wake up all we want to see is someone we know. I wanted to be there in case there was not anybody from the family there.

"But he was conscious, he was moving and he was very agitated with the fact that he had a cut on his head. With that, they sedated him for him to calm down, and then they moved him to hospital."

Barrichello, who had a big crash himself at the tragic Imola weekend that claimed the lives of Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger, said what had happened to Massa and Surtees was a wake-up call.

"I honestly don't believe in coincidence in life. Things happen for a reason and I think this is the second message," he told reporters. "Imola was a message. The cars were improved. Unfortunately we lost a boy, which is tremendously sad. It is not a coincidence that something happened right now.

"In the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers' Association) we talked quite a lot about it yesterday and something needs to be done," said the 37-year-old.

Senna died at the San Marino Grand Prix after his Williams careered off the track and into a concrete wall, the driver suffering a fatal head injury.

McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton agreed with Barrichello. "I believe things happen for a reason, and for two incidents to happen in such a short period of time, we can't ignore it," the Briton told reporters.

"We've got to make sure we learn from it, and improve if we can," he added.

Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there