The hospital treating injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has offered a more serious assessment of the Brazilian's condition, countering the Scuderia's claim that the news was 'positive' following emergency surgery.

Massa was struck on the helmet by a steel rear suspension spring shed by Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP machine towards the end of the Q2 phase of the session. The blow ripped out the 28-year-old's visor, knocked him unconscious and caused him to spear off the circuit and into the tyre barrier at high speed.

Clearly hurt and unable to vacate the cockpit under his own power, the S?o Paulista was extricated from the car by medical teams and stretchered with care and wearing a neck brace to the Hungaroring's medical centre, before being airlifted to the AEK military hospital in nearby Budapest.

Ferrari's post-qualifying statement only discussed the incident, but reported that Massa had 'undergone surgery' about an hour after arriving at the hosiptal, and that 'the outcome of the procedure was positive'.

However, while hospital sources confirmed that the eleven-time grand prix-winner would 'remain under observation in intensive care', they offered a graver assessment of the his condition, reporting that he was being kept sedated on a respirator.

"Massa's condition is serious, life-threatening but stable," medical director Peter Bazso told a news conference, before confirming chief surgeon Lajos Zsiros' belief that he would be brought out from the sedation on Sunday and contending that he was in a 'satisfactory condition'.

"At the time he was admitted to hospital his condition was stable, he was breathing and blood circulation was normal," added a statement from the Hungarian defence department.

"During the course of his examination they established that he [had] suffered serious, life-threatening injuries, including loss of consciousness and a fracture of the forehead on the left side and a fracture on the base of the skull."

Ferrari has promised an update on Massa's condition on Sunday morning.