A while ago I asked whether Fernando Alonso or Michael Schumacher’s massive position gains on the opening lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix were anything special – indeed, whether they were worthy of comparison with Ayrton Senna’s at Donington Park in 1993.
I was fascinated to see Darren Morgan asked that very question of Autosport’s F1 correspondent Nigel Roebuck in their excellent ‘Ask Nigel’ feature, but was surprised by his reply:
I can’t honestly say the starts of Schumacher and Alonso at the Hungaroring, impressive as they were, particularly reminded me of Senna’s opening lap at Donington in 1993… The majority of the work was done in the opening seconds – literally away from the grid. Ayrton at Donington was a different thing.
Everyone’s entitled to form an opinion, of course, but I strongly disagree with this. Schumacher certainly gained most of his positions off the start line but Alonso clearly did not (as our earlier analysis of their starts show).
Alonso’s start was wholly reminiscent of Senna’s, in that once he’d passed one car he’d decimate the gap to the next then pass it as if it were standing still. To my mind, he demonstrated exactly the same intuitive grasp for the levels of grip on a changing and inconsistent surface that Senna did on that celebrated day.
The onboard video of Alonso’s start (below, thanks again to Don Speekingleesh for the tip) leaves me in absolutely no doubt.
- Three great first laps
- Fernando Alonso onboard start, Hungarian Grand Prix 2006 (external)
- Autosport.com: Ask Nigel Roebuck – Did lap 1 of Hungary eclipse that of Donington ’93? (external, requires subscription)