As anyone who ever went through Driver’s Ed surely learned, distracted driving is dangerous driving. The same apparently holds true in Formula One racing, as Felipe Massa learned the hard way in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix this morning. But instead of eating a Big Mac or trying to text while he was driving, Massa was struck in the head by a piece of debris while traveling down a high-speed front straight.
Massa may have been knocked out after being hit by what appeared in replays to be a spring from the car of Rubens Barrichello, but even if he wasn’t, the impact was enough to cause him to drive almost head-on into a tire barrier while going full speed. Massa was airlifted to the hospital, but the good news is that he’s reported to be in stable condition.
*UPDATE*: Things have taken a turn for the worse, as the AP is reporting that Massa has suffered a fractured skull and that his condition is “life-threatening,” although he has had surgery and is stable.
Video of the crash after the jump:
The crash placed a pall over the qualifying session, especially coming on the heels of the crash last week in a Formula Two race that killed Henry Surtees, the 18-year-old son of John Surtees, a former Formula One world champion and motorcycling champion. Surtees died when a tire came off of another car and struck him in the head, causing him to lose consciousness and care into the wall at high speed.
Massa’s accident put a frightening coda on what was a weird qualifying session. Fernando Alonso picked up a surprise pole position - his first since 2007. Not that anyone knew it, as the entire Formula One scoring system managed to go down at the end of qualifying (which I’m sure Bernie Ecclestone will blame on “the Jews”), leaving the field unaware of where they stood on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
*UPDATE #2*: Felipe is out of his coma & responding to doctors & family. Continuing updates about his condition can be followed at his official website.