Last April, eighteen-year-old Billy Monger lost both of his legs in a tragic British Formula 4 crash, and in March of this year it was confirmed that Monger would be back in the car for a full season of British F3 with Carlin Racing. And at his first race back in the series one step above the series he crashed in with a car designed especially for his needs, Billy Monger has finished on the podium.
The 2018 BRDC British F3 Championship opens this weekend at Oulton Park. After a damp Saturday qualifying session, Monger was set to start the race in a stunning fifth place, a half second behind the pole time of his Carlin teammate Clement Novalak.
Monger quickly picked up two positions at the start of the first race when Novalak and driver Krish Mahadik collided on the first lap, and there he remained for the rest of the race, fending off Tom Gamble’s constant advances. He finished behind Nicolai Kjaergaard and race winner Linus Lundqvist.
After qualifying, Monger said that he was happy with his position and with his ability “to show we’re competitive.” That sounds a little bit like an understatement to me—Monger’s attitude and drive have been astounding during his recovery, and it’s massively inspiring to see him back behind the wheel racing with an unprecedented level of performance as he settles into a new car.
According to Autosport.com, Billy Monger was only confirmed on the F3 grid last week after completing pre-season testing in a fourth car outfitted with special controls that necessitates the use of only one prosthetic leg to operate the brake, while the throttle is controlled by a paddle on the steering wheel.
Monger said on Twitter that he’s taking 2018 one race at a time and still doesn’t have the funding for a full season. But with his already-sensational performance at Oulton Park that blew all expectations out of the water, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be lacking in sponsorship for long.