Hungary 2006 - Buttons finest moment 31 Jul 2007
After a difficult race at the previous round in Germany, Renault were in for a bigger shock at last years Hungarian Grand Prix. The champions recorded their first double DNF of the year, with their only consolation the fact that Ferrari were unable to fully capitalise, Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa taking away just three points between them.
As the title rivals struggled, the Hungaroring meeting belonged to Hondas Jenson Button, who came from 14th on the grid to score his maiden Formula One win. The changeable weather played a huge part in the race, but Buttons victory was totally deserved, the Briton keeping his cool in tricky conditions to finally triumph on his 113th attempt.
Ironically, the man who had previously wagered his Formula One career on joining BAR - now Honda - was not there to witness Buttons glory. By mutual agreement, Jacques Villeneuve had parted company with BMW Sauber prior to Hungary, giving third driver Robert Kubica the chance to make history by becoming Polands first Formula One racer. Kubica made an instant impression - third fastest in final practice behind the two Ferraris, then tenth in qualifying, ahead of team mate Nick Heidfeld. He would even go on to score points for seventh place on his race debut, only to be disqualified after his car was found to be underweight.
Fernando Alonso and Schumacher were out of contention for pole position before qualifying even started. The former was handed a two-second penalty for weaving and passing under yellows in Friday practice, the latter an identical punishment for a red-flag misdemeanour in final practice. As a result, Massa looked all but certain of his maiden pole for Ferrari - that was until a last-ditch effort from McLarens Kimi Raikkonen wiped the smile from the Brazilians face, leaving him second ahead of the two Hondas.
The race was all about tyres. At the start the track was somewhere between wet and damp and intermediates proved the best choice. Later slicks became the quickest option. Knowing when to switch was vital. Button got it spot on, but others werent so fortunate. Raikkonen led the opening laps from team mate Pedro de la Rosa and Honda's Rubens Barrichello, with Button moving up fast. However, despite his lowly grid slot, it was Alonso who took charge when the two McLarens pitted and his prospects got even brighter when Raikkonen inexplicably crashed into the rear of Toro Rosso backmarker Tonio Liuzzi.
But Button stayed with him and when Alonso himself spun out after a rear wheel nut failure, the Honda driver knew that elusive victory was within his grasp. Behind him Michael Schumacher was having a torrid time as his decision to see out the race on inters backfired. First he was passed by De la Rosa, then he made contact with Nick Heidfelds BMW, leaving the German out of the points in ninth. He was later promoted to eighth after Kubicas disqualification, but regardless, with Massa only seventh, Ferrari had failed to capitalise on Renaults first double DNF of the season.