Billy Monger (pictured at right) didn’t get a win in his return to Donington Park a year on from the crash at the British circuit that led to the amputation of both his legs, but the 19-year-old Briton’s performancee were inspiring nonetheless. Monger took pole position in two of the three British Formula 3 races on the weekend, and after finishing fourth in Race 1 then finishing 15th in Race 2 after being forced to pit to change a front wing, he secured his first podium result with third place in the finale, as his Carlin Racing teammate Nicolai Kjaergaard took his second win of the weekend.
“It’s been good to be back at Donington and to get this one out the way,” declared Monger. “To be honest I thought I’d have more problems than I did, but this weekend I’ve had nothing else on my mind aside from driving as fast as I can, and I think I’ve proved that with two pole positions and the speed I have carried throughout testing and the weekend. I just need to make sure I don’t make mistakes in the race, as for a racing driver there is nothing more frustrating than knowing that you’re quicker than everyone else and doing a better job, but making one or two silly errors that cost you the results you deserve.”
One of those errors came on the second lap of the late-afternoon finale when, leading from pole — which he secured by setting the fastest race lap in his problematic second race — Monger bobbled at the chicane and handed the lead to Kjaergaard, who sympathized: “The low sun was causing a lot of problems — it was very difficult coming into the chicane to see the braking markers and the turn-in points, and Billy just got caught out on one of the bumps at the chicane,” the Danish driver said. “He had a slide coming out of the chicane and I managed to get past on the way down to the hairpin.
Monger eventually made his way back up to third behind Kjaergaard and Krishnaraaj Mahadik, some 3.3 seconds behind the winner. While pleased with the result, he’s hungry to improve on it.
“It’s great to be on the podium — if you’d asked me before the weekend if I’d have liked to have been on the podium, of course I would have said yes, but I came into this weekend wanting to win as well,” Monger said. “Earlier in the season my mentality was slightly clouded as I had no idea what to aim for, so getting podiums was an amazing achievement. But for me now and the development that the team has made and the progress I have made as a driver, aiming for podiums in my mind and the team’s mind isn’t what we want now — we want wins. This weekend was a great opportunity to get some but that’s not to say we won’t get the same opportunity at Silverstone, so that’s what I’m aiming for.”