'We've won this race, because I am alive': Formula one driver Maria de Villota on her near fatal crash

For 15 terrible minutes, it looked as though it could've been the end of the road for Forumla One test driver Maria de Villota.

The Spanish sportswoman remained unconscious and trapped in the cockpit of her car after crashing into the back of a parked truck while doing a test drive for Richard Branson’s British team Marussia. Her helmet had been sliced in two – at first glance it looked as if the crash had been fatal.

But despite suffering serious head injuries and losing an eye in the impact, Maria recovered. And she has spoken for the first time about the horrific accident to HELLO! magazine's sister publication HOLA!.


"I remember everything, even the moment of the impact," she says.

"When I woke up everybody was around me and they didn't even know if I was going to speak, or how I was going to speak.

"I started speaking in English because I thought I was on an FIA check-up and that the nurse was a trainer.

"Then my dad said 'Please, Maria, speak Spanish, because your mother is missing half the things', and then I became aware of everything: of what had happened, where I was and why."

Officials are still investigaing why the accident happened.

"Everyone wants to know and see if there are lessons that can be learned from it so future accidents can be prevented," she says.

"We won this race because I’m alive. It would be comforting to know that, with regard to the future, I have managed to improve safety."

The crash - which happened on July 3 at at Duxford Airfield in the run-up to the British Grand Prix - has had a profound effect on her, she says.

"The accident has given me a new perspective about life, about the things that matter.

"It has taught me that to achieve what you want you have to educate yourself in sacrifice through effort. 

"Now I have just one eye maybe I perceive more things than before. Before this, my life was a race against the clock, and now I see you have to stop and measure things in a different way."

To read the full interview with Maria, pick up a copy of next week's HELLO!, on sale from Monday October 15

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