Jenson Button has donated £15,000 to Billy Monger as a fundraising appeal for the British teenager who lost both his legs following a horrifying motor racing crash on Sunday surpassed £500,000 inside 24 hours.
Monger, 17, had amputations to both of his lower legs after he ploughed into a stationary car at 120mph during a British Formula Four race at Donington Park.
The on-board footage of the accident was played out live on ITV4 and Monger was trapped in his car for 90 minutes before he was airlifted to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
A fundraising page was established on Wednesday afternoon – and following support from Britain’s triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, Button and the defending F1 champion Nico Rosberg, it took just six hours to hit their target of £260,000. The £500,000 mark was reached 22 hours and 30 minutes after the first donation.
Button, the 2009 Formula One champion who will return to the grid at next month’s Monaco Grand Prix, was in touch with Monger’s team manager Steven Hunter before making his charitable pledge.
Hamilton, who has more than four million followers on Twitter, issued a tweet in support of the 17-year-old.
More than 12,000 contributions have been made to the page – established by Monger’s family, Hunter and fellow racing driver Tom Ingram – with an anonymous donation of £26,000 the single biggest so far.
Monger, from Charlwood in Surrey, was left fighting for his life following a collision with a car driven by Finn Patrik Pasma which had stopped on the circuit.
“Bill came out of his coma and his first things were hand motions,” his team manager Hunter told the BBC.
“He turned round to his number one mechanic, fist pumped, and he had his hands up trying to work out how he is going to change gear with a hand clutch. It is typical of Bill, immediately looking at what he can do as regards to getting back in a race car.
“From the condition he was in when he arrived in on Sunday, to where he is now, we have seen a massive improvement which is very uplifting to see. But as we all know he has got a long hard road ahead to improve and hopefully he can get to a stage where he can live life to the fullest.”