WORLD champion Lewis Hamilton claimed a long-awaited first victory of 2009 at yesterday’s Hungarian Grand Prix – and then paid tribute to hospitalised Ferrari rival Felipe Massa.
Brazilian Massa needed emergency surgery on a fractured skull following a freak accident during qualifying on Saturday. Last night he remained in an induced coma in intensive care but doctors said scans had shown encouraging results.
And McLaren driver Hamilton admitted that the health of Massa, his closest rival in last year’s championship, overshadowed his personal triumph at the Hungaroring.
“Maybe I can speak for all of us, but today was a sad day given what happened with Felipe,” said Hamilton. “We miss him, wish him well and we all wish him a speedy recovery.”
Massa, 28, fractured his skull in two places when he was hit on the helmet by a spring that broke off Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP. After surgery he was put into a coma and was still under sedation last night in order to keep his condition stable.
He was briefly brought round for a series of scans, and Dr Peter Baszo of Budapest’s AEK military hospital said the outcome had been positive. He said: “The result of the CT was reassuring. It brought the result we had expected for an injury of this type.”
Massa’s accident came just days after Formula Two driver Henry Surtees died when a rival’s wheel broke free and struck him.