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.

TRACK LENGTH 2.722 miles
MOST POLES Michael Schumacher (7)
MOST WINS Lewis Hamilton (6)



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.


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.


  • 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.


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.


Poles Driver
7 Michael Schumacher
6 Lewis Hamilton
3 Ayrton Senna
3 Sebastian Vettel
2 Riccardo Patrese
2 Mika Häkkinen
2 Fernando Alonso
2 Nico Rosberg
1 Nigel Mansell
1 Thierry Boutsen
1 Alain Prost
1 Damon Hill
1 Rubens Barrichello
1 Kimi Raikkonen


Year Driver Team
1986 Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda
1987 Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda
1988 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
1989 Nigel Mansell Ferrari
1990 Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault
1991 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
1992 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
1993 Damon Hill Williams-Renault
1994 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford
1995 Damon Hill Williams-Renault
1996 Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
1997 Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
1998 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
1999 Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
2000 Mika Häkkinen McLaren-Mercedes
2001 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2002 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari
2003 Fernando Alonso Renault
2004 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
2005 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes
2006 Jenson Button Honda
2007 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2008 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
2009 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2010 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
2011 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2012 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2013 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2014 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault
2015 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2016 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2017 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2018 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes