Hungaroring: The Ultimate Track Guide

Hungaroring: The Ultimate Track Guide

When F1 arrives in Hungary, there’s usually an end of term feeling as the Hungaroring hosts the final race before the summer break. Held at the height of the European summer, this relatively slow but technical track has served up some intriguing races for the past three decades.


FIRST F1 RACE 1986
TRACK LENGTH 2.722 miles
NUMBER OF LAPS 70
NUMBER OF TURNS 14
MOST POLES Michael Schumacher (7)
MOST WINS Lewis Hamilton (6)

TRACK MAP


A SHORT HISTORY OF THE HUNGARORING

The Hungaroring is located twelve miles to the north-east of Budapest. After plans for a race in Moscow fell through, Bernie Ecclestone brought the series to Budapest instead and the race made history by being the first to be held behind the Iron Curtain. A city street race was mooted but the communist government instead wanted a new track, and so one was built within eight months. The circuit was designed by Istvan Papp.

The winner of the first ever Grand Prix in 1906 was the Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz. Hungary’s motorsport history goes back to 1936, when a Hungarian Grand Prix was first held in Nepliget. It had 100,000 spectators, which is an impressive figure for that time. With the onset of World War II, focus shifted away from racing, and there was not another Hungarian Grand Prix until F1 came to Budapest in 1986. The inaugural event was attended by 200,000 fans.

The circuit is tight and twisty and it’s difficult to overtake, so the track has taken a reputation of producing somewhat boring racing. In recent years, however, the races have been more entertaining. The circuit isn’t used too often throughout the year, so it is usually dusty when the cars take to the track at the start of the first practice session. What the track lacks in overtaking opportunities, it more than makes up for that with its setting. The Hungaroring is one of the best of the year for spectators to attend as there’s good viewing right around the track, due to the track being in a valley.

The track has crowned two F1 champions over its history. In 1992, Nigel Mansell won the title here and in 2001 Michael Schumacher took the championship victory here.

The Hungaroring hasn’t changed much through the years. One of the S bends was changed in 1989, shortening the track by a small amount, and in 2003, the main straight was extended by twenty metres. In 2016, the track was resurfaced and had new kerbing. There were also new run-off areas.

The Hungaroring holds a contract to host the Hungarian Grand Prix until 2026.


🇭🇺 2018 RACE RECAP

On a weekend where Ferrari had been expected to excel, Lewis Hamilton dominated both a wet qualifying session as well as the Grand Prix.

The Qualifying hour on Saturday was frantic due to the weather conditions. Lewis Hamilton took pole in the wet weather, with his team-mate starting alongside him on the front row. Ferrari had looked the stronger team throughout the practice sessions, but were on the back foot after the mixed conditions of the qualifying session. The Mercedes stayed ahead on the opening lap, as Sebastian Vettel overtook his team-mate for third. Max Verstappen was out on the sixth lap with power unit issues, while his team-mate got up to fifth with impressive overtakes on Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly, having started from twelfth on the grid. A slow pit stop cost Vettel, as he emerged from the pits behind Valtteri Bottas. Vettel attempted an overtake on Bottas in the closing stages, but the move ended in contact. The Mercedes driver continued on a warpath as he slid into the side of Daniel Ricciardo at the first turn, eventually being forced to concede his fourth position. Hamilton dominated the race, winning by almost twenty seconds. The two Ferrari drivers finished alongside him on the podium.


ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW




🇭🇺 DID YOU KNOW?

Until 2006 there had never been a wet Grand Prix in Hungary. The rain in 2006 aided Jenson Button to his first victory from 14th on the grid.


FAST FACTS

  • Despite the lack of overtaking, less than half of the thirty Hungarian Grands Prix have been won from pole.
  • Due to under-use, the track is often slippery at the beginning of the weekend. Parts of the track that are off the racing line can remain slippery throughout the event.
  • McLaren are the most successful team here, having won eleven Hungarian Grands Prix.
  • Turn Four is the quickest on the track, taken at 132mph while Turn One is the slowest, taken at just 58mph. Twelve of the fourteen corners are taken at low-ish speed, which gives an advantage to cars with better mechanical grip.
  • The largest winning margin here was Damon Hill’s 72 second lead in 1993.
  • 44% of the lap is spent at full throttle.
  • Zsolt Baumgartner is the only Hungarian driver to have competed in his home Grand Prix.

🇭🇺 WHY WE LOVE BUDAPEST

This highly technical track offers up the opportunity for a surprise result, as a good showing here is not so reliant on engine performance. That, paired with an end of term feeling, always makes the Hungarian Grand Prix an enjoyable event.


🇭🇺 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX WINNERS AND POLESITTERS

YearPolesitterTeam On PoleWinnerWinning Team
1986Ayrton SennaLotusNelson PiquetWilliams
1987Nigel MansellWilliamsNelson PiquetWilliams
1988Ayrton SennaMcLarenAyrton SennaMcLaren
1989Riccardo PatreseWilliamsNigel MansellFerrari
1990Thierry BoutsenWilliamsThierry BoutsenWilliams
1991Ayrton SennaMcLarenAyrton SennaMcLaren
1992Riccardo PatreseWilliamsAyrton SennaMcLaren
1993Alain ProstWilliamsDamon HillWilliams
1994Michael SchumacherBenettonMichael SchumacherBenetton
1995Damon HillWilliamsDamon HillWilliams
1996Michael SchumacherFerrariJacques VilleneuveWilliams
1997Michael SchumacherFerrariJacques VilleneuveWilliams
1998Mika HäkkinenMcLarenMichael SchumacherFerrari
1999Mika HäkkinenMcLarenMika HäkkinenMcLaren
2000Michael SchumacherFerrariMika HäkkinenMcLaren
2001Michael SchumacherFerrariMichael SchumacherFerrari
2002Rubens BarrichelloFerrariRubens BarrichelloFerrari
2003Fernando AlonsoRenaultFernando AlonsoRenault
2004Michael SchumacherFerrariMichael SchumacherFerrari
2005Michael SchumacherFerrariKimi RaikkonenMcLaren
2006Kimi RaikkonenMcLarenJenson ButtonHonda
2007Lewis HamiltonMcLarenLewis HamiltonMcLaren
2008Lewis HamiltonMcLarenHeikki KovalainenMcLaren
2009Fernando AlonsoRenaultLewis HamiltonMcLaren
2010Sebastian VettelRed BullMark WebberRed Bull
2011Sebastian VettelRed BullJenson ButtonMcLaren
2012Lewis HamiltonMcLarenLewis HamiltonMcLaren
2013Lewis HamiltonMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2014Nico RosbergMercedesDaniel RicciardoRed Bull
2015Lewis HamiltonMercedesSebastian VettelFerrari
2016Nico RosbergMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2017Sebastian VettelFerrariSebastian VettelFerrari
2018Lewis HamiltonMercedesLewis HamiltonMercedes
2019