Get well soon, Ant
Sky Sports F1 pundit recovering in hospital after Le Mans crash
Last Updated: June 18, 2012 11:47am
Anthony Davidson has described himself as "overwhelmed" by the messages of support he has received in the wake of his horrific crash during the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race on Saturday.
The Sky Sports F1 co-commentator and analyst suffered two broken vertebrae after a collision with the Ferrari of Piergiuseppe Perazzini flipped his Toyota airborne and into a tyre wall.
Anthony remains in hospital, relieved that the injuries inflicted were not more serious, frustrated that his Le Mans dream remains unfulfilled, but thankful for the many messages of goodwill wishing him well in his recovery.
"Genuinely overwhelmed by all the Tweets, texts, emails & visits. Your support and friendship has been amazing. Thank you," Anthony tweeted on Monday morning.
Sky Sports F1 colleague Johnny Herbert spoke to Anthony on Sunday night and reported that his friend remained in good spirits. That was evident earlier in the day when Anthony's first response to the accident was to tweet out: "Well that was a big one! Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn't what I had in mind at this stage in the race.... Gutted for the @Toyota_Hybrid team who did an amazing job all week. Thank god I can follow the race on Twitter though! :-)"
Once a racer, always a racer...
Anthony is expected to stay in hospital until Wednesday, and in a press briefing with his Toyota team has provided a stage-by-stage review of the crash:
Q. How do you feel?
Anthony Davidson: "I have felt better, that's for sure. I am in a bit of pain, in my lumber area, the middle area of my back. That's the only thing that hurts really so I've been lucky."
Q. What's the diagnosis and when will you be back?
AD: "Basically I have two broken vertebrae; T11 and T12. The doctors say the average recovery time is three months, but that's an average person not a professional sportsman or athlete. That estimate is to get back to an absolutely healed bone; as strong as it was before. It's more like three weeks until the pain subsides and I get my mobility back fully."
Q. Can you describe what happened to cause the accident?
AD: "I was almost completely past the car after the apex of the kink. I passed a Corvette and a Ferrari with the pro driver sticker on. They were fighting each other and I just assumed the Ferrari ahead was part of their group and therefore another pro. The car was all the way to the left as you would expect a pro driver to do. It was only when I got right up to the back that I realised it was one of the amateur-stickered cars.
"But I still wasn't alarmed, I still felt it was a completely legitimate move and thought he would stay to the left, which it looked like he was doing. I made the apex of the corner, started to brake and I was almost out of the corner when I felt contact on the left rear."
Q. Can you describe what happened then?
AD: "Instantly it spun the car, pivoted round to the left, then took off and turned upside down. At that point I felt I was in an aeroplane out of control. I knew how close the barriers were, and travelling at that speed I was going to be there in no time.
"That part of the crash was pretty petrifying. It crashed back down to the ground, I felt an almighty punch up my spine when the car hit back down on four wheels. I still had my eyes closed and my hands off the wheels, in the brace position. Half a second after that I had the forward impact into the barrier."
Q. What happened when the car came to a stop?
AD: "I reopened my eyes and realised I was still here, albeit in a bit of pain. I had feeling and could move my feet; everything was working. I know I should stay in the car, especially with back pain, but initially I felt full of panic and claustrophobia, I just had to get out of the car. It was really odd. I banged the door open and clambered out carefully because I knew I was in pain. I had to stretch out and the closest point was the side of the car, then the medics came over."
Q. Has the team visited you already?
AD: "All the drivers have been. Stephane and Sebastien turned up last night, the #7 guys this morning and it was a nice touch that my team-mate last year Sebastien Bourdais came to the medical centre. It was nice to see a familiar, friendly face at that moment. All the team came over this morning to check how I was."
Q. What is your feeling about the TS030 Hybrid's race debut?
AD: "When the team visited we all gave each other a pat on the back for our performance. More than anything, we wanted to show the speed of the car. When we look back, even from my hospital bed, there were a lot of positives. We needed to tick many boxes this weekend and being fast was one of them. We had a great qualifying session, splitting the Audis, and showed great pace in the race to take the lead through Nico in the #7. I think that was really good for the fans."