Today was a terrifying day at Hungaroring. It was Qualifying, the day when drivers compete to see who will start from Pole Position on the grid (that’s first place). It has nothing to do with points or winning the race, but the further front you are, the more likely you are to have a chance at winning tomorrow. It’s knockout qualifying in 3 rounds for the 20 drivers, so after Round 1 the bottom 5 are cut, then the next five, and then the final round decides the top 10 positions for the race.

During Round 2 one of my favorite drivers, Rubens Barrichello for Brawn, lost a chunk of his suspension on the track. This pretty much killed his car, and he was out. His teammate Jenson Button’s crew spent a lot of time trying to see if his suspension had the same problem, so he also didn’t place very high.

But the terrifying incident was Felipe Massa, a Brazilian who drives for Ferrari. The piece of Barrichello’s car (looks like a giant spring) that was left on the track flew up and hit him in the head, knocking him unconscious and causing him to drive head first into a wall without even trying to steer away. He was airlifted from the scene, had emergency surgery this afternoon, and is in serious but stable condition. Forget driving tomorrow, he might be out the whole season. It could even be a career ender. And last year he was neck-in-neck for the championship and lost to Lewis Hamilton by a very small margin. A great racer and a terrifying accident. We saw the crash on the TV screens and saw the aftermath live–the airlift, the mangled car coming back to Ferrari’s garage, the staff walking the track picking up any debris they could find. Scary, scary day.


A disappointed Rubens Barrichello leaves the pit after his car died on him. This was just before we knew Massa had crashed after hitting debris from his car.

massa in hospital 

The Ferrari crew heading back to the medical center to see if Massa is okay.

The internet connection in our hotel is horrendous, so I will update later with more photos of qualifying and our sightseeing in Budapest.