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The Hungarian Grand Prix Through the History Books

Written by Stefan Banić, Edited by Debargha Banerjee

Credit - Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The Hungarian Grand Prix has historically been one of the most interesting and demanding races in Formula 1. From the first grand prix in 1936 until today, 38 times Formula 1 has raced at Hungary. The latest iterations of the Hungarian GP have been held at the Hungaroring, a 4.381 km (2.72 mi) long circuit with 14 corners and the track record being 1:13:447, set by Lewis Hamilton in 2020.

The first Hungarian GP was held on June 21, 1936, on a track located next to the People's Park in Budapest. Today, unfortunately, there is not much information about that race. Politics and unfortunate events in the following years affected Hungary and resulted in not holding the Grand Prix for the next fifty years. The big comeback of this race takes place in 1986 as Bernie Ecclestone's desire to hold a race behind the Iron Curtain. The Hungarian Grand Prix is ​​known for its procession races, in which multiple cars sometimes follow one another without being able to pass because of the track's characteristics of being small, winding, and frequently dusty off-line due to under-use.

Throughout history, the Hungarian Grand Prix has brought us many thrills and iconic moments. In 1990, Thierry Boutsen managed to keep his slower car in front of Ayrton Senna, who was unable to overtake Boutsen due to the specifics of the track, making pit stop strategy a crucial prospect of the race. A prime example would be the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton chasing down the Red Bull of Max Verstappen to secure victory with the help of a strategic masterclass from Mercedes. In 2003, the track was modified to allow overtaking and in the hope to provide more wheel to wheel action and more gripping races. When Michael Schumacher won his fourth Drivers' Championship in 2001 at the Hungaroring, he also matched Alain Prost's career total of 51 Grand Prix victories, which was the previous record. In the 37-year history of the Hungaroring, two drivers have been crowned as F1 champions: Michael Schumacher in 2001 and Nigel Mansell in 1992, both of whom were successful in capturing the World Championship. The Constructors' Championship was additionally won at the Hungaroring by the Williams F1 Team in 1996 and Scuderia Ferrari in 2001, 2002, 2004.

Credit - AllSport UK/Getty Images

In 2020, Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix for the eighth time, tying Michael Schumacher for the most victories in a single Grand Prix (eight victories at the French Grand Prix). Mention should be made of the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, when Esteban Ocon recorded his first F1 victory and the battle between Fernando Alonso, the two-time F1 champion, and Lewis Hamilton, the then defending world champion. In 1997, Damon Hill nearly won the race against the less technical Arrows Yamaha, but on the final lap his car lost power and finished second. In 2014, Lewis Hamilton finished third, six seconds behind winner Daniel Ricciardo, despite starting the race from the pitlane. To this day, Lewis Hamilton holds the record for most wins at Hungaroring. (8 wins)

Looking at the history of this track and the races run here, we can expect nothing but the continuation of the already rich history of this Grand Prix.

Credit - Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

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Jul 20, 2023


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