Brit Formula One star says the teenager’s awful accident has ‘really hit home’
LEWIS HAMILTON says he was rocked by Billy Monger’s horrific Formula 4 accident that resulted in the teenager losing both his legs.
Last week, Hamilton Tweeted his support for Monger, 17, who crashed heavily into a stationary car at Donnington Park.
Monger was airlifted to hospital but doctors were unable to save his legs and he needed a double amputation.
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A fundraising website was quickly set up for Monger, which has now raised over £770,000, and Hamilton says the Brit’s awful accident “really hit home”.
He said: “I have to say I think I was affected more by Billy’s incident than I probably have been by most.
“With the exception of the incident that happened here in F1 two years ago [Jules Bianchi’s Suzuka crash].
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“Just to see a kid… I’ve been there, been in that position, racing and doing well and fighting to get to F1, and such a horrific incident.
“So it really hit home, and it really just goes to highlight that it still is a dangerous sport, not just in F1 but through the whole range.”
All F1 teams are showing their support for Monger at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix and the cars will all be carrying the hashtag #BillyWhizz.
And Hamilton is hopeful that Monger can follow former F1 racer and current Paralympic gold medallist, Alex Zanardi, who lost his legs after suffering a similar crash in 2001.
Hamilton added: “I heard that he posted a great post already, so soon after the incident. My mind just then shines onto Zanardi, showing what he was able to do.
“I have all the belief that Billy will be able to do something similar.”
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel topped the second practice session yesterday (FRI) in Sochi while his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was second quickest.
Ferrari’s pace will raise concerns for Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton third and fourth fastest respectively.
However, Vettel has accused Mercedes of sandbagging and expects them to be back on the pace on Saturday.
He said: “I think Mercedes will be fine. It’s a circuit that suits them, so they will be strong tomorrow.
“Last year people expected Williams to be fastest after the Friday, if I remember right, and it turned out that Mercedes was the fastest, so that’s how sometimes you can be misled.
“I think there are a lot of things that we can play with in the car; fuel loads and engine modes… at this track, especially, there are a lot of things that you can show or not show.”
Hamilton added: “We managed to complete everything that we needed to do on our runs, but in terms of
the balance of the car, the Ferrari seemed very, very fast.
“We need to work out how we can improve our pace. But there’s still everything to play for.”