Formula One drivers are a breed apart in so many ways. Chief among them is an ability to recover quickly.
Stirling Moss broke his leg in a crash and was told it would take months to recuperate. He was back in a car four weeks later.
Niki Lauda was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church in 1976 after his horrible accident in Germany. He was driving again six weeks later, finishing fourth in the Italian Grand Prix.
It’s much too early to speculate on the recovery time for Lotus-Renault driver Robert Kubica, except to say that there are hints from his doctors that he is starting his recovery in a very strong way after nearly losing his right hand and suffering other terrible injuries to his right arm and leg in a rallying accident in Italy on Sunday.
Said his doctor, Giorgio Barabino, who is head of the intensive care unit at the Santa Corona hospital where Kubica is being treated, Kubica is coming along in an "excellent way."
"It's difficult to make predictions," he told the website IGV.it said. "What's certain is that it's rare to find such a strong patient.”
The statement, "it's rare to find such a strong patient" gives you an idea of what those drivers are made of.
An official statement issued by the Louts-Renault team late yesterday said: “After spending the night under constant observation, (Robert) was briefly woken up by the doctors of the Santa Corona Hospital this morning. (He) was then able to talk to his relatives. He was also able to move his fingers, which is encouraging for the rest of his recovery process.
“Prof. Mario Igor Rossello, Director for the Regional Centre of Hand Surgery at San Paolo Hospital in Savona, did not notice any swelling or infection on his right forearm, and this is another good sign, although it will be several days before it is known if the operation has been 100 per cent successful.
Kubica’s manage, Daniele Morelli, said: “I finally talked to him and Robert has been shown to understand everything perfectly. His mental capacities are intact and we are extremely relieved. This really leaves us hope. Obviously he feels a lot of pain in his leg and hand. It will take time.”
But how much time?
If you use Moss and Lauda as barometers, perhaps not as much time as initially thought.
More details here
Photographs of the accident here