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Massa flies to Brazil; feels better and eyes quick return

india Updated: Aug 03, 2009 21:58 IST

Felipe Massa left a Budapest hospital on Monday as he returned to his home in Brazil to recover from severe head injuries sustained on July 25 in qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix.

Massa, 28, said in an interview published on the website of his Ferrari team that he felt "much better now," hoped to return to racing "as soon as possible" and that it was "the best choice" to have record champ Michael Schumacher take his place in the meantime.

Massa's departure was confirmed by the Hungarian defence ministry, which oversees the AEK military hospital where he underwent surgery.

He was taken in an ambulance to Ferihegy airport for the flight in a private plane to Sao Paulo. He is due to spend a few more days in hospital there before going home for further rehabilitation.

The Brazilian driver underwent surgery for multiple skull fractures when he hit a tyre wall after being hit by a spring from a the Brawn GP of Rubens Barrichello on the Hungaroring track.

Massa told the Ferrari website that he knew the cause of the incident but nothing then until he was woken up from an induced coma two days later.

"I know exactly what happened, that a spring came off Rubens' car and hit me on the helmet. I know that something happened to me, but I didn't feel anything when it happened," he said.

"They told me that I lost consciousness at the moment of the spring's impact on my helmet and I ran into the barriers, then I woke up in hospital two days later. I don't remember anything.

"When I saw Rob (Smedley, his race engineer), he asked me if I remembered Rubens, but the last thing I remembered was when I was behind him at the end of my fast lap in Q2, and than it's blank."

Massa thanked his family, the Hungarian doctors and his team, and expressed his gratitude for the huge support he received from around the world after the incident.

"I also want to thank everybody who prayed and who wrote to me via my own and Ferrari's website, hoping that everything went well. So many people wrote to me, also many who aren't interested in Formula One," he said.

Looking at his return to Brazil, Massa said: "Many things have happened over the last days and I want to get back to a normal life. I want to get back into the best possible condition, doing things you do every day."

Massa said he was happy with Ferrari's choice to have the seven-time champion Schumacher replace him during his absence. Massa and Schumacher were Ferrari team-mates in the German's final season 2006.

The German visited Massa in hospital on the weekend and Massa said he did not need to give the legend any advice ahead of Schumacher's return from retirement on August 23 in Valencia, Spain.

"Michael doesn't need my advice! It was him who gave me many tips during my career when we were racing together," said Massa.

"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," said Massa.