Bianchi accident casts a pall over Sochi paddock

Thu Oct 9, 2014 12:16pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI Russia (Reuters) - An air of shock and sadness hung over the Formula One paddock on Thursday as drivers prepared for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix with Jules Bianchi foremost in their thoughts.

Bianchi suffered severe brain trauma and is in a 'critical but stable' condition in hospital in Japan after the accident at Suzuka last Sunday.

In heavy rain and fading light, the Frenchman's Marussia aquaplaned uncontrollably and at speed into a recovery tractor that had been deployed to remove Adrian Sutil's Sauber. No medical update has been released since Tuesday.

Brazilian Felipe Massa, who suffered near-fatal head injuries in a 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix accident but came back to race again with Ferrari and now Williams, voiced the thoughts of many.

"It was the worst race of my life," he told reporters in an emotional news conference with four other drivers when asked about Suzuka and his thoughts ahead of Friday practice.

"It’s so difficult to be everyday because I can just be thinking about him, thinking about Jules. It’s a very difficult weekend for all of us," he continued.

"Maybe tomorrow it will get a little bit better because at least you are working, at least you have something to think about, some issue to put inside your brain. (We must) try to race and do the best we can for him, for his family."


Marussia Formula One driver Jules Bianchi of France speaks to the media after a news conference at the Suzuka circuit October 2, 2014.   2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino