At Silverstone to interview Felipe Massa for Sky Sports News over the weekend, I spent over an hour in the company of the Brazilian and could only marvel at the way this hugely popular Formula One star has put behind him his horrific crash in the Hungarian Grand Prix three years ago.
Massa was in pole position as Ferrari smashed the world record for the biggest ever parade of supercars and poignantly his passenger during Saturday’s spectacular feat was the President of BEN, the charity that supports autoworkers and their families who have fallen on hard times.
The fact that Massa is not one of those who needs help is testimony to his remarkable escape from his dice with death. Since surviving his 2009 crash in Budapest, he has made a full recovery form the fractured skull that left him in intensive care for 48 hours.
On the track he is still a contender, despite speculation that his place at Ferrari is under threat. His recent form and outstanding support for team-mate Fernando Alonso confirms that he is still an irresistible force. And speaking to Massa one-to-one it is clear that he still has that burning desire to win races.
He certainly enjoyed the ambassadorial role he was given by Ferrari to lead out a convoy of 964 Ferraris, piloting a black beauty in the shape of a 458 spider.
Enthusiasts of the iconic Italian racing car had flocked to the Northamptonshire circuit from every part of Great Britain and across Europe. Their effort almost doubled the previous record set four years ago in Japan when 490 Ferraris converged on the Fuji Racing Circuit.
It is estimated the total value of the Italian convoy was well in excess of £100 million, with a number of million-pound Ferrari Enzos in the procession as well as several iconic Ferrari F40s – worth around £400,000 each.
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s donation of £5 for every car that took part meant BEN received a total of £4820.