Formula One

Most Memorable Hungarian GPs In F1 History – Revisiting four great races at the Hungaroring

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

For the 39th time, Hungary will host a Grand Prix this weekend, so let’s revisit some of the most memorable Hungarian GPs!

1986 Hungarian Grand Prix

This was the first time F1 crossed the Iron Curtain, as it raced at the brand-new Hungaroring circuit. Brazil dominated qualifying, as Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet headed the front row of the grid.

In front of the packed grandstands, Senna maintained the lead at the start, while Nigel Mansell came from fourth to get ahead of his teammate. Piquet was determined and overtook his teammate to pressure Senna. The pair were running nose-to-tail for much of the race, while the pitstops did not affecting the order. After a failed attempt earlier, Piquet made one of the sport’s most iconic overtakes in the closing stages. With Senna defending the inside line, Piquet went around the outside and made it stick, despite having to get on opposite lock to remain in control of his car.

He opened the lead very quickly and took his third win of the year, which put him right into the championship fight. Mansell did not have good pace, as he was lapped and finished third, but at least his situation was not as bad as that of Alain Prost, who crashed out of the event, pushing hard after pitting to resolve an electric problem.

1998 Hungarian Grand Prix

Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard took over the front row of the grid in their McLarens, with Michael Schumacher four tenths of a second behind, in third position. Much like the previous race in Hungary, Damon Hill showed great pace and qualified fourth for Jordan.

Hakkinen got away well, while Schumacher piled the pressure on Coulthard instantly. However, there was no way through in the twisty circuit and Ross Brawn pulled out a masterstroke. His plan was a three-stop strategy, which would require Schumacher to do around twenty flying laps to overcome the deficit of one extra pitstop. McLaren reacted by pitting its cars with the intention of avoiding an undercut and hindering Schumacher’s progress when he needed clear road. However, the German’s laps were so fast that he achieved the undercut anyway. With a clear road and a lighter car, he was flying and maintained the lead after his last stop.

In an epic drive, Schumacher came away with an unlikely victory. To make matters even better for him, he saw Hakkinen finish only sixth, because of a faulty shock absorber that dropped him down the order. Coulthard was second, almost ten seconds behind, unable to do anything to challenge Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve completed the podium.

2006 Hungarian Grand Prix

Jenson Button won one of the most memorable Hungarian GPs, in 2006
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The drama started on Friday as both championship contenders, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, were penalised for infringements during practice. Both would have two seconds added to their times in each qualifying segment. Pole position ended up in the hands of Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa was on the front row with him. Rubens Barrichello was third and Jenson Button qualified fourth but would start fourteenth because of an engine penalty. Schumacher started eleventh, with Alonso fifteenth.

Räikkönen got a great start and held the lead, but Massa lost a couple of places. Schumacher and Alonso both rose, the former to fourth and the latter to sixth. A couple of laps later, the pair went wheel-to-wheel and the Spaniard made an audacious move to overtake the German around the outside of turn five. Button also had a great opening and rose to fourth, after overtaking Schumacher, who later broke his front wing after contact with Giancarlo Fisichella.

Alonso took the lead when Räikkönen stopped and a few laps later, the McLaren crashed into Vitantonio Liuzzi whilst lapping him and the safety car came out. Alonso was now leading from Button and de la Rosa. After the restart on lap 30, the Renault pulled away, before pitting for the second and last time on lap 51. His tyres were changed but one of the wheel nuts was not fastened properly and he crashed two corners later, handing the reigns to Button.

After 113 races, Jenson Button finally became a Grand Prix winner. After an excellent drive from fourteenth on the grid, the Englishman triumphed at Hungaroring, taking victory by half a minute. Second place went to de la Rosa, who achieved his first podium after a hard fight with Michael Schumacher on the closing laps. The German was then under pressure from Heidfeld and they banged wheels in the battle for third. While BMW got its first podium, Schumacher’s suspension was damaged and he would park his car.

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton had a compromised qualifying session, as a fire put an end to his session, and he would start from the pitlane. Q3 was hectic because of a shower, which led many drivers to errors, including Kevin Magnussen, who crashed. Nico Rosberg took pole position, half a second faster than Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso followed.

All drivers started on intermediate tyres because of a shower before the race. Rosberg retained the lead and Bottas was up to second off the grid, while Alonso was also past Vettel. On lap seven, Marcus Ericsson crashed, and the safety car came out. It was the perfect opportunity for a switch to slick tyres, but the top four were past the pitlane when the safety car was deployed and had to change tyres on the next lap. Rosberg dropped to fifth and Alonso to eighth, while Ricciardo was first. Alonso rose to third after some great laps and he became the leader as he elected not to pit when the safety car returned on lap 22, following a crash for Sergio Perez.

Rosberg pressured Hamilton for second and Mercedes asked the latter to let his teammate through, since the German would pit again, which the Brit refused. Heading to the closing laps, Alonso was in the lead, with Hamilton second and Ricciardo third, both on the Spaniard’s tail. Ricciardo had great pace and fresher tyres, so he passed Hamilton with four laps remaining and then outbraked Alonso on the very next one to take the lead.

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Ricciardo was unleashed and took the victory five seconds ahead of Alonso, for his second F1 triumph. The Ferrari driver was second, holding off both Mercedes drivers at the end. Rosberg caught up with the cars ahead and attacked Hamilton, but the Brit had none of that and pushed him to the grass, to take a podium from a pitlane start, despite a spin on the first lap.

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