Former Ferrari driver, Rubens Barrichello, at the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix in Sau Paulo. Photo: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil's ex-Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he recently had a mild stroke and underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his neck, beating the odds to recover.

"I was at home taking a shower when suddenly I felt pain in my head. On a scale of zero to 10, it reached eight or nine," he told Globo Television in an interview on Monday. "I thought, oh no, my motor's broken."

The former Ferrari driver and teammate of Michael Schumacher said he went to hospital the same day.

He had suffered a mild cerebrovascular accident, or stroke, he said.

"When I got out of hospital, they told me that barely 14 percent manage to recover the way I did," the 45-year-old Barrichello said.

Doctors afterwards discovered a benign tumour in his neck. The tumour was small, but "they took it out quickly because although it was benign, it had to be removed because it was growing." 

The scare took place in late January.

Barrichello, who retired in 2011 after 11 Grand Prix wins, called himself "the luckiest man in the world".

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