Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll qualified eighth for Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and then revealed he had broken a big toe as well as both wrists in a cycling accident two weeks ago.
The 24-year-old Canadian said the last week had been “pretty insane”.
“If someone (then) had offered me a 1% chance to be here, I’d have taken it,” Stroll, whose wrist injuries were made known earlier in the week, told reporters.
“It’s exactly two weeks today since my accident. I couldn’t move both hands, couldn’t walk. I had a broken big toe on the right foot as well. The light was very far at the end of the tunnel.
“I came out of surgery 12 days ago, got out of the hospital 10 days ago kind of thing. Pretty grateful and just happy to be here.”
Stroll, who missed three days of pre-season testing and was seen struggling to extricate himself from the car after Friday practice, said he was feeling better with every lap and was starting to get more trust in what his hands could do.
He said he was also finding more of a rhythm and was confident he would be fine for the race in a car that was a lot of fun to drive.
The Canadian will start alongside the Mercedes of seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton.
“I think every day is getting easier. I’m not as worried now as I was a week ago,” added the son of billionaire team owner Lawrence.
He said the broken toe was painful “but not anything that’s limiting me to drive” and he was taking over-the-counter painkillers.
The Canadian said he had broken heels and ribs in the past while go-karting but ‘it’s been a while’.
“I felt like I got in a pretty good place towards the end of quali where I was happy to push the car and feel decent.
“It looks like we have great pace in the long run, in the test. It’s a long race tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
Team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso qualified fifth after setting the pace in the second and third practice sessions.