Journeyer concludes his two-part guide to the Hungarian Grand Prix. You can read the first installment here.
1997: The Hungaroring’s twisty configuration meant cars with lesser grunt could be competitive at the front. So Damon Hill, who up to now was uncompetitive in the Arrows, suddenly managed to slip past Michael Schumacher for the lead – and stay there! Alas, a late mechanical issue forced him to slow down and get passed by Jacques Villeneuve within sight of the flag.
1998: Just like the year before, we were seeing an unlikely proposition here. The McLarens were dominant, so surely Michael Schumacher can’t win this race? But he proved almost everyone wrong – by jumping to a three-stop strategy, with Ross Brawn uttering those now infamous words “You have 19 laps to get a 25-second lead.” With Michael three seconds faster per lap, the McLarens were unable to respond. Advantage Schumacher – and the win.
2003: Five years later Schumacher couldn’t even get a look in to the battle for the race win. As a matter of fact, he was lapped – the first time he was lapped while running at full speed since 1991! In contrast, Fernando Alonso was dominant in the Renault. Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen had no answer to the Renault star’s pace, and Alonso went on to score his first Grand Prix win.
2006: By this time, Alonso was at the peak of his powers, having won a championship the previous year and now locked in a battle with Schumacher for the title. Alonso had stunning pace at the start, but a crucial pitstop error caused his wheel to go off.
Schumacher’s pace then improved, but he used up his tyres and slipped back down the order. Pole sitter Raikkonen got tangled up in a collision too, putting him out of contention. Enter an ecstatic Jenson Button, who managed to nab his first Grand Prix win. But unlike Alonso this is his only win so far.
Read more about this race: 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix review
2007: As Keith so accurately put it earlier this week, “This was the moment when the fraught relations betwen Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren went into meltdown.” And it was one of the most shocking Q3s I’ve ever seen.
From Hamilton’s decision not to let Alonso through, to Alonso holding up Hamilton and forcing him to miss out on a second run, to the FIA dropping Alonso 5 places and disallowing McLaren to score constructors points.
Read more about this race: 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix review – Hamilton edges out Raikkonen
But there were other unusual bits from this race too, most notably Ferrari forgetting to refuel Massa, which meant he missed the cut for Q3, and was nowhere in the race. In contrast, teammate Raikkonen pushed Hamilton all the way to the finish.
So, where do we look for excitement this weekend? Will it be on-track? Will it be off-track? Will it have decided to skip Budapest for Valencia? Let’s hope we see something of interest this weekend.
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