25 Jul 2009 - Motorsport - Massa involved in high-speed crash

The 28-year-old was struck by a piece of debris deposited by Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP as he had earlier complained of something breaking at the back of his car.

Replays showed a part of the car coming off the Brawn and bouncing along the same area of the Hungaroring track where the drama began for Massa.

Massa later caught the debris, on one of his hot laps, which then bounced up, striking his helmet and knocking him unconscious.

Massa's feet must have relaxed at that point, one on the throttle as on-screen graphics showed it remained open, the other on the brake as there were skid marks across the considerable run-off area before he ploughed nose first into a tyre barrier.

The fact Massa made no attempt to turn out of the impact appeared to underline the fact he was not conscious as he hurtled into the tyres.

With Massa stricken in the car, photographs later emerged showing a fist-sized dent in his helmet, and with his visor up, there was a large cut over a blackened left eye.

Massa was soon attended to by trackside medics before being taken to the circuit's medical centre, then to hospital for further examination 22 minutes after his crash.

Although word emerged after a chaotic session that Massa was 'okay' after being airlifted to a nearby Budapest hospital, Ferrari later confirmed the Brazilian would need an operation.

A statement read: 'After the accident during the qualifying session, Felipe was airlifted to the AEK hospital in Budapest.

'Felipe was conscious at the arrival of the hospital, and his general conditions remain stable.

'Following a complete medical examination, it emerged he had suffered a cut on his forehead, bone damage to his skull and a brain concussion.

'These conditions need to be operated on after which he will remain under observation in intensive care.'