Felipe Massa's gradual recovery from the impact that left him in life-threatening danger after qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix continues to encourage doctors at the hospital treating him for head and brain injuries.

The Brazilian was airlifted to AEK Hospital in Budapest after initial examinations at the Hungaroring medical centre determined that his injuries went far beyond a mere facial cut and concussion. On arrival, he was rushed into surgery to address 'serious' head injuries, before being placed in an induced coma on Saturday night.

An initial CT scan, conducted on Sunday morning, produced the first encouraging signs, with no further damage detected and, although Massa was again sedated in intensive care, he has since shown positive signs of progression.

According to a Hungarian defence ministry spokesman, the Ferrari pilot recognised the faces of visitors as his bedside when again waking naturally from the sedation, and was able to 'actively communicate' with those around him. He also showed signs of being able to move his hands and legs, suggesting that brain damage, if any, is minimal.

"He has woken up more and more often, and is able to communicate actively - that is he reacts when he's talked to," Istvan Bocskai told Hungarian television reporters, "We are optimistic that, in our hope, a slow recovery is beginning."

Doctors, however, remain cautious about predicting the extent of Massa's recovery at this stage, although an ultrasound examination carried out in the early hours of Monday morning produced 'promising' results. The driver is due to have a second CT scan later in the morning.

While the Ferrari team dedicated team-mate Kimi Raikkonen's podium finish in the Hungarian GP to the Brazilian, team president Luca di Montezemolo confirmed that he was to fly to Hungary overnight to check on Massa's in person.

"I hope I will have good news," Montezemolo told the official Ferrari F1 website before he left for Hungary, "Today's result, the best in this difficult season so far, is for Felipe! Compliments to Kimi for a great race and to the team, for working well and being very concentrated despite these very difficult circumstances."

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