London (AFP) – Teenage racing driver Billy Monger claimed a podium finish on his return to racing on Saturday, less than a year after having both legs amputated in a horror crash.
The 18-year-old finished the race at Oulton Park in north-west England in third place on his first appearance since undergoing a double amputation when he crashed into a stationary car during a Formula Four race at Donington Park in April, 2017.
“It’s a bit surreal but an awesome feeling, even just to be back racing,” said Monger.
“If you had told me that I’d have been on the podium first race of the year, I would probably have said you were lying to me! It was awesome to be out there and prove I’m competitive is more than I could have ever have asked for.”
Monger’s plight last year — he was in a coma for three days and in hospital for almost a month — provoked an outpouring of generosity from the motor racing world.
Formula One world champions such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg contributed to a fund of around $1.2 million (970,000 euros) set up for the teenager.
“When I saw the chequered flag, it was a bit of a relief more than anything, that all the hard work that we had been putting in over the winter had finally paid off and it was a great way to reward the guys and girls to get it.”