Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Felipe Massa’s aiming to say big thank you in Hungary

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa's first port of call on returning to the Hungaroring tomorrow will be to meet and thank marshals and medical staff for saving his life a year ago.

The anniversary of Massa's horrific crash in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix may have been two days ago, but the most poignant reminder for the Brazilian will come this weekend.

It is when the memories he possesses will return, at least up to a point as he has no recall of what unfolded after being struck on the helmet by a spring weighing a kilogram that had broken off the Brawn GP of Rubens Barrichello.

After ploughing into a tyre barrier in his Ferrari, the 29-year-old spent nine days in recovery in Budapest's AEK military hospital after fracturing his skull, which later required surgery for the insertion of a metal plate.

Massa knows he is lucky to be alive, which is why this weekend will be a “very special” one for him.

“My first meeting when I arrive at the circuit will be with all the marshals and medical staff who did such a very good job of carefully getting me out of the cockpit,” said Massa.

“I want to thank these people, with whom I now feel a special bond.

“I had to stay in hospital for a week after the accident and I got to know the staff, who all treated me so well.

“One unusual result of the whole unfortunate episode is that I know I now have a lot more fans in Hungary.”

Massa admits the accident was a life-changing one, not on the track where he maintains he has lost none of his bravery and speed, but more pertinently away from it as a human being.

“It made me value life much more than before,” said Massa. “I appreciate the ordinary things in life 10 times more.

“It has put life and my health in perspective, not taking anything for granted.

“However, on the professional front nothing has changed because once you shut the visor and go out on the race track, you just do everything as before, without thinking of the accident.”

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