A year on from the serious accident at Donington Park that led to the amputation of both his legs, British driver Billy Monger returned to race at the British circuit for the first time since — and claimed a sensational pole position for the first British Formula 3 race of the weekend. The 19-year-old Briton put in a blistering lap that put him clear of Carlin Racing teammate Nicolai Kjaergaard.
“To come back here, with the meaning this circuit has to me and my first race back here, to get pole is an awesome way for me to start the weekend,” declared Monger, whose injuries occurred when he struck a stationary car at the Donington circuit in April 2017. “It’s something that I knew was doable, especially after the last few rounds where we’ve come so close and I’ve made mistakes. Today was all about doing the job and we’ve definitely done that.
“With it being so cold here today and potential rain this afternoon, I just wanted to make sure my tires were fully up to temperature before I started to push so during the middle of the session, my laps, although they were still competitive, weren’t fully committed, and it wasn’t until I got to the last few laps I knew everything was up to temperature and I just went for it, had a nice space on the circuit and did two laps good enough for pole.”
The race wasn’t quite such a fairy-tale success for Monger, who made a poor getaway in damp conditions and was passed by Kjaergaard by the time the field reached Redgate corner. Kjaergaard went on to win while Monger wound up fourth, having fallen as far back as sixth at one point, with the British driver fending off a race-long battle with Lanan Racing’s Kush Maini. But he had already proved a point to himself and to his supporters around the world.
Monger will get another chance tomorrow in Race 2 at Donington, scheduled for 11 a.m. local time.