The Hungarian Grand Prix: A new classic

The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza or a Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

To many, these would be classed as “Classic Grand Prix” at “Classic Circuits”. The sort of Grand Prix that most want to see on the F1 calendar.

I feel however, that the affection for old classic Grand Prix tracks shouldn’t put modern classics, like the Hungarian Grand Prix, at risk.

Jenson Button” by WrldVoyagr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In a sport that is annually accused as being boring at one time or another during a season, there is always the Hungarian Grand Prix which often throws up a different result from the norm, and often provides an entertaining race.

Since its introduction to the F1 calendar in 1986, the Hungarian Grand Prix has seen five drivers either claim their debut Formula One victory or their maiden win for their new team (table below).

Drivers to have claimed their Debut Grand Prix Win at the Hungarian Grand Prix Drivers to have claimed their maiden win in a new team at Hungarian Grand Prix
Damon Hill Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso
Heikki Kovalainen

It’s also a Grand Prix that goes against the trend of a season,  the below table shows the dominant driver/team(s) of the season and the driver/team to have won that year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Year Dominant Driver/Team of Season Driver/Team Hungarian Grand Prix Winner
1990 Ayrton Senna (McLaren)/Alain Prost (Ferrari) Thierry Boutsen (Williams)
1992 Nigel Mansell (Williams) Ayrton Senna (McLaren)
2003 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)/Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2006 Fernando Alonso (Renault)/Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) Jenson Button (Honda)
2009 Brawn/Red Bull Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014 Lewis Hamilton/Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)
2015 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

Even after that you can look at editions such as the 1997 Grand Prix which although saw Jacques Villeneuve win for Williams, it doesn’t tell the whole story of how Damon Hill had led the majority of the race in his Arrows and was a few sectors away from claiming Arrows first ever Grand Prix victory, but for a throttle linkage failure.

The Grand Prix has seen other classic moments such as Nelson Piquet’s overtaking move on Ayrton Senna going into turn 1 in the 1986 race, Nigel Mansell working his way trhough the field and utilising a backmarker to pass Senna to take victory. There is also Schumacher’s blistering pace to take victory in 1998 and Jenson Button remaining calm with changeable weather conditions to claim victory in 2011.

So, Formula One heads to a Grand Prix that has seen six different drivers win since 2006, has seen five drivers claim their debut Grand Prix victory or their first for a recently joined team. Not to forget the seven winners who you wouldn’t have expected to win given the results of other Grand Prix throughout that particular season.

That to me sounds like a Grand Prix worthy of being called a classic.

Race – Hungarian GP 2013” by _chrisUK is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


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