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WATCH: 11 classic Hungarian Grand Prix moments

18 Jul 2016

Ever since it joined the calendar in 1986, the Hungarian Grand Prix has served up great racing and huge drama, not to mention a contender for the greatest overtake ever. We look back on some of the moments that live longest in the memory…
Last-lap heartache robs Hill of victory, 1997

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Damon Hill scored his maiden Grand Prix win at the Hungaroring in 1993, but for many it was his ‘moral victory’ for the unfancied Arrows squad at the same circuit four years later that is most fondly remembered - not least because of the Englishman’s memorable Turn 1 pass for the lead on old adversary Michael Schumacher. Were it not for a hydraulics leak slowing him a few hundred metres from the line, allowing Jacques Villeneuve’s Williams to sweep past on the grass, F1 would have witnessed one of the great fairy-tale victories. As it was, Hill finished a still-excellent second to his former team mate.

 

Swashbuckling Piquet slides around Senna, 1986

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Rated by some as the greatest pass in F1 history, Nelson Piquet’s audacious sweep around the outside of Ayrton Senna’s Lotus - completed with wheels-on-the-grass, opposite lock flamboyance - proved the decisive moment in the historic first race behind the ‘Iron Curtain’. Turn 1 has witnessed many passes since, but none as breathtaking.

 

Mansell scythes his way through the field, 1989

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Famously labelled by some as ‘Monaco without the houses’, the Hungaroring has long held the reputation as a track on which overtaking is extremely difficult, though Nigel Mansell went a long way to dispelling that with a superb victory from 12th on the grid in 1989. The key moment occurred 21 laps from the flag when the tenacious Englishman took advantage of Ayrton Senna’s hesitation in lapping Stefan Johansson’s Onyx to sweep instinctively into the lead. No wonder Mansell would later describe the race as “maybe the best of my life.”

 

Alonso laps Schumacher en route to record-breaking win, 2003

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Today Fernando Alonso is one of the elder statesmen on the grid, but it wasn’t so long ago that the Spaniard was smashing F1’s age-related records - and in some style too. Having already become Formula One racing’s youngest polesitter earlier on in ‘03, Alonso became, at 22, the then-youngest winner in F1 history with a faultless performance in Budapest that saw him finish 16.7s clear of Kimi Raikkonen. The icing on the cake? Lapping Michael Schumacher’s struggling Ferrari with ten laps to go.

 

Red Bull suffer nightmare first lap, 2005 

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The opening lap of the ’05 race in Hungary must surely go down as one of the very worst in Red Bull’s history. Within the space of a minute the Milton Keynes-based team lost both of their cars, with Christian Klien’s RB1 being unceremoniously flipped out of contention at the first corner by Sauber’s Jacques Villeneuve, and then David Coulthard spectacularly collecting Fernando Alonso’s discarded front wing later on the same lap. “The main thing is that both drivers got out of their cars okay with no injuries,” said team boss Christian Horner. “But obviously it's extremely frustrating…”

 

Schumacher pushes Barrichello too far, 2010

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Michael Schumacher spent six seasons alongside Rubens Barrichello at Ferrari, with the Brazilian contributing mightily to the German’s multiple title successes, but there wasn’t a great deal of love on show when the duo - by then at different teams - found themselves fighting over tenth place in the latter stages of the 2010 race in Budapest. "I think it was one of the most beautiful manoeuvres I've done and one of the most horrendous from him,” steamed Barrichello after being edged towards the wall by Schumacher, whose actions earned him a 10-place grid drop for the next race.

 

Alonso and Hamilton war in qualifying, 2007 

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If you think Toto Wolff has his hands full managing tensions between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, then spare a thought for Ron Dennis who spent much of 2007 trying to keep a lid on simmering tensions between a rookie Hamilton and team mate Fernando Alonso at McLaren. The breaking point came in Hungary midway through the season when Alonso was adjudged to have deliberately baulked Hamilton in the pits during qualifying in order to prevent the Briton challenging his pole position. The result? A five-place grid penalty for Alonso and a fuming Ron Dennis... 

 

Ricciardo passes Hamilton and Alonso for victory, 2014

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If you’re going to win a Grand Prix, is there any better way of doing it than by brilliantly passing two world champions in the final four laps? That’s how Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo wrapped up victory in a wild and unpredictable race at Budapest in 2014, overtaking both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to cap a superb drive in mixed conditions.  

 

Senna beats Prost - by a nose, 1988

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If the 1988 season was a two-horse race for the world title between McLaren duo Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, then no race summed up their intra-team struggle better than Hungary. The Brazilian started from pole and went into the lead, but Prost - who’d qualified down in seventh - roared onto his tail, and even went briefly ahead at Turn 1 before overcooking his braking. In the end, though, Senna had just enough in his locker to hold off the Frenchman, beating him across the line by 0.529s.

 

Button scores breakthrough win, 2006

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After qualifying 14th on the grid, Jenson Button probably didn’t think the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix would be the race where he’d finally get to taste the winner’s champagne. But after climbing the order in style in tricky wet/dry conditions, that’s just what the Briton did, having been in the perfect position to capitalise when long-time leader Fernando Alonso lost a wheel nut and spun off.

 

Mercedes team orders fall on deaf ears, 2014 

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Seven years after his fallout with Alonso (see above), Lewis Hamilton was involved in another intra-team spat in Hungary, this time over the thorny issue of team orders. Would the Brit move aside to aid team mate Nico Rosberg’s alternative strategy? Not if it meant slowing down he wouldn’t… “If he can get close enough to overtake, then he can overtake,” said Hamilton bluntly, before going on to beat the German to third place.

 

We’ll be remembering Jenson Button’s famous 2006 win in Hungary with a special video feature later this week.