The Hungarian GP is one of the most anticipated races on the European leg of the F1 calendar. The narrow and winding Hungaroring hosted a Grand Prix for the first time in 1986 and has remained one of the biggest events ever since.
The 4.38 km (2.72 mi) circuit often draws comparisons to F1’s crown jewel race on the streets of Monaco. The relatively short track coupled with the tight corners means it is one of the slowest tracks on the calendar. Lewis Hamilton has won the Hungarian GP a record eight times.
In its 36-year history, the Hungaroring has seen five new F1 Grand Prix winners. Let’s take a look at these drivers who took the top step of the podium for the first time at the Hungarian GP.
#5 Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon took his first and only Grand Prix victory to date at the 2021 Hungarian GP. Ocon took an upset victory at the Hungaroring, which witnessed one of the most chaotic starts in F1 history.
Valtteri Bottas, then driving for Mercedes, eliminated half the field early in the race in wet conditions, with the help of Lance Stroll. Ocon, who started eighth on the grid, was second when he came out of the debris-filled first turn.
At the ensuing restart, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes chose the wrong tires and gave Ocon the lead. The Frenchman bravely defended Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin to get his first win.
#4 Heikki Kovalainen
Heikki Kovalainen secured his only career win at the 2008 Hungarian GP when he drove up front McLaren equipment. Kovalainen’s victory came in the season in which his teammate lewis hamilton he was involved in an intense title fight with Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.
The two title contenders were also in the spotlight in Budapest as the race turned into a duel between the two drivers for the win. Halfway through the race, Hamilton suffered a flat tire. Massa was on his way to victory until the Ferrari engine gave up with three laps to go.
Heikki Kovalainen, who started on the front row, ended up winning the race, becoming the 100th driver to win an F1 World Championship race.
#3 Jenson Button
Jenson Button’s first F1 win came at the rain-affected 2006 Hungarian GP. Button, considered one of the best drivers in the wet, earned his first win in similar conditions while challenging title contenders. Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.
Starting the race on the second row, Button had to fend off Alonso and Schumacher, who started 10 places further back. The Ferrari driver’s weekend spiraled after multiple race incidents, while Alonso crashed out of the race due to a loose wheel.
Meanwhile, Button driving in his element under such conditions took the checkered flag to take the first of his 15 wins.
#2 Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso took his first victory at the Hungaroring in 2003, when he was driving for Renault. Alonso secured a victory at the 2003 Hungarian GP in commanding fashion, winning the race from pole position.
Driving on the revamped track layout, Alonso pulled out an early lead in the opening laps and never looked back. On the way to victory, he gave the reigning champion a spin, Michael Schumacher.
Fernando Alonso’s maiden win heralded Renault’s rise to become a championship-winning force.
#1 Damon Hill
Damon Hill took the first victory of his career in 1993 Hungarian Grand Prix when he was driving for the dominant Williams team. Hill won his first race in his second season, driving the FW-15C, and his teammate Alain Prost won the drivers’ championship that season.
Hill started second on the grid, after posting a 1-2 Williams in qualifying. His teammate Prost stopped on the warm-up lap and started at the back of the grid and then retired due to a faulty rear wing.
Michael Schumacher and Aryton Senna struggled while Damon Hill took victory in the 77-lap race, his first of 22 victories.