Hungaroring classic - 1990 Boutsen v Senna 29 Jul 2005
The Hungaroring has been the scene of some close racing over the years - although the difficulty that drivers encounter in overtaking has also produced some surprising results - few more so than the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Before the recent burst of track-building, the Hungaroring was one of Formula One racing's most modern tracks - constructed as recently as 1986. At the time of the first Grand Prix there, Hungary was still a part of the Communist Eastern Bloc - with hundreds of thousands of race fans flocking to see the most glamorous sport in the world up close. The relatively compact track design gave a circuit that is high on technical challenge but very short of overtaking opportunities - although some modifications to the layout a couple of seasons ago have given a marginal improvement in passing chances.
But the 1990 race took place on the original, unreconstructed Hungaroring, giving Belgian driver Thierry Boutsen a chance to take the last of his three career victories through a dogged defence of his pole position. The Williams of Boutsen and his team mate Ricardo Patrese had qualified in first and second places, ahead of the McLarens of Gerhard Berger and Ayrton Senna - with Nigel Mansell's Ferrari and Jean Alesi's Tyrell lining up on the grid in fifth and sixth respectively. Mansell and Alesi both managed to get past a slow-starting Senna, however, meaning that at the end of the first lap the order went Boutsen, Berger, Patrese, Mansell, Alesi, Senna.
It was quickly clear that Senna possessed the fastest car in the race, certainly with his monumental skill behind the wheel, but he was frustrated by the lack of passing opportunities - it took him until lap 21 before he could find a way past Alesi, before dropping back down the order when he was forced to pit to replace a punctured tyre. The Brazilian then began his steady move back up the order, passing Mansell (together with Benetton's Alesandro Nannini) when the Englishman misjudged a passing move on Patrese and ran out of room. Then Patrese pitted - leaving Nannini and Senna running in second and third, closing quickly on the back of Boutsen's Williams.
In the closing stages of the race Senna tried a desperate move to pass Nannini, gaining the position but forcing the Italian into the gravel trap and ending his race. He rapidly reeled in Boutsen's Williams, but for all his best efforts he couldn't find a way past - with the Williams and McLaren crossing the finish line less than 0.3 seconds apart, one of the closest races in Formula One history.
It was also one of the few bright spots in Williams' season that year - the then Didcot-based team ending the season in a lowly fourth place in the constructors' championship (behind McLaren, Ferrari and Benetton). Despite taking what proved to be the final win of his Formula One career in Hungary, Boutsen finished the drivers' championship in sixth - while Ayrton Senna went on to take his second championship.