BUDAPEST, July 28 – Seriously injured Brazilian Grand Prix driver Felipe Massa has been able to communicate with his family "adequately", chief surgeon Dr Lajos Zsiros said on Monday."(Massa) is sleepy but can give adequate answers to questions and can move his limbs," Zsiros told the press in front of the AEK hospital where the Ferrari driver was brought after his crash on Saturday.
Massa had been taken off sedatives and artificial ventilation, and a brain scan had revealed an improvement of his condition, the surgeon said.
"Further improvement is expected during the night," he estimated.
Zsiros noted that it would take another "week to ten days" to know whether Massa would recover fully or not.
A representative of the family meanwhile said that Massa had been asking his family, present at the hospital, about what had happened to him.
Earlier Monday, neurosurgeon Robert Veres had said the racer’s eyes might have been damaged in the crash, but hospital director Peter Bacso said his vision could not be examined at this stage.
Felipe Massa suffered skull and eye injuries when he was hit on the head at around 275 kph by a spring that broke loose from compatriot Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix Saturday.
The 28-year-old Ferrari driver was airlifted to the AEK hospital, which is run by the Hungarian defence forces, and underwent surgery for skull damage immediately.
He was initially kept in an induced coma to help his body get through the 48-hour postoperative phase, but was woken up from time to time to get information on his condition.
Defence ministry spokesman Istvan Bocskai said Monday morning that a slow recovery was about to start although "this is not the phase yet when this can be stated as a certainty".
A test to determine if water had accumulated in his bowels was negative, Bocskai said, adding the results were "reassuring".
Massa has been with Ferrari since 2006 and was pipped by just one point by Lewis Hamilton in the 2008 title race. Winner of 11 Grand Prix, he is currently seventh this season with 22 points.