SAO PAULO – Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, recovering from a life-threatening crash sustained nine days earlier in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, arrived home in Brazil on Monday.
Massa waved to photographers just before being admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital in South America’s biggest city, where he is expected to stay for at least two days to undergo further exams.
“Thanks,” he said briefly. “I can’t talk, I still have to recover.”
Massa arrived Monday evening on a private jet accompanied by his wife Raffaela, who is six months pregnant with their first child, and family doctor Dino Altmann. He was transported to the hospital from the airport on a helicopter.
Before leaving the AEK military hospital where he was being treated in Budapest, Massa spoke publicly for the first time after the high-speed accident that prompted surgery on multiple skull fractures. The crash occurred after he was hit in the helmet by a loose part from another car on Aug. 25.
“Many things have happened over the last days and I want to get back to a normal life,” Massa said in an interview on Ferrari’s website. “I want to get back into the best possible condition – doing things you do every day.”
The 28-year-old Massa, who had said he was feeling well aside from some swelling around his damaged left eye, will be replaced at Ferrari by record seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who visited the Brazilian on Saturday and is coming out of retirement to race.
“Michael doesn’t need my advice,” Massa said. “It was him who gave me many tips during my career when we were racing together. He knows how to win, he knows how to drive and he’s great.
“It was the best choice handing over the car to such a fantastic person and I’m sure that everybody will be happy to see him back on the track again – although I hope I’ll be back on the track with Ferrari as soon as possible.”