Schumacher relieved by Massa recovery

BUDAPEST: Seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher said he was relieved to see injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa in such good shape when he visited him in hospital here on Saturday.

"It's good that I finally made it to see Felipe, I feel better now. Even if I was informed about everything, it's still better to see it with your own eyes," Schumacher wrote on his website.

"I am surprised at his positive condition, as the accident was only one week ago. We sat together for around three hours and were chatting with each other. I really feel relieved now."

The German driver announced Thursday that he would return to Formula One to replace Massa in the Ferrari team for the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23, and possibly for the rest of the season.

Speaking of his first tests on Friday, Schumacher, who retired in 2006, admitted on his website: "I'm feeling muscles that I was not even aware exist."

"But then it was clear that you cannot test for a day after such a lot of time without feeling anything, and I am curious to see what will happen in the coming days."

Felipe Massa's father, Luiz Antonio Massa, told AFP at the hospital: "Felipe was very happy that Schumacher is going to be his substitute...and he joked he was ready to race already."

Massa's brother Eduardo also told AFP: "He wants to be back in the race right now. I am sure he will be driving as soon as it is possible."

Massa's personal physician Dino Altman said Saturday that the driver's condition was continuing to improve.

"He is recovering well, he was walking in the corridors last night. Everything is going in the right direction," Altman told journalists.

"He is anxious to go home which shows that he is feeling well. We think he will be able to fly home on Monday," the Brazilian doctor said, without specifying when the driver would be discharged.

Massa was badly injured when he was hit at around 250 kph by a spring that flew off compatriot Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix last Saturday.

The 28-year-old underwent surgery on his fractured skull.

He was taken out of intensive care on Wednesday.