This time next week could see Lewis Hamilton clinch a record ninth victory at Hungarian Grand Prix, so we have decided to take a look at three of the Brit’s greatest wins in Hungary over the years.
From Qualifying controversy to dominant drives to cat and mouse thriller, there has been several classic moments at the Hungaroring, Budapest yet Hamilton has triumphed in eight of 14 visits since 2007 with the Brit often dominant around this track.
It therefore was tricky to note three stand-out drives in Hungary by the seven-time champion but we have managed to pick out three of Hamilton’s impressive Hungarian GP victories as he prepares to seek to become the first F1 driver to win a single Grand Prix on nine separate occasions next weekend.
2019 Hungarian Grand Prix
Hamilton entered the 2019 Hungarian GP with a 41 point lead over Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, and 63 point advantage over Max Verstappen.
It however was Verstappen who found himself on a historic pole position ahead of Bottas and Hamilton and held his lead at the race start, as Bottas locked up twice as he fought off Hamilton who got through at Turn Three albeit with minor contact with Bottas’ front wing.
Bottas’ front wing however was further damaged moments later after contact with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, which left Hamilton to battle Verstappen for victory throughout the remainder of the race.
Verstappen proceeded to pit at the end of lap 25 with Hamilton following seven laps later for hard tyres after unsuccessfully trying the overcut, which enabled the Brit to catch Verstappen but was unable to make a lunge into Turn Four on lap 39 work as he ran wide and slipped behind Verstappen.
Mercedes consequently decided to gamble on a two-stop strategy with a second stop on lap 49 for medium tyres, which didn’t force Red Bull into a reaction as Hamilton soon found himself 12 seconds behind Verstappen with 14 laps left, which became 10s with ten laps left on lap 60.
Hamilton’s tyre gamble consequently paid off seven laps later as he swept past Verstappen round the outside of Turn One to clinch his then seventh victory at the Hungaroring, although the Dutchman had the last laugh as he snatched the point for fastest lap.
This race though certainly goes down in Hungarian GP folklore as one of the most entertaining races ever at the Hungaroring, given the cat and mouse nature of Hamilton’s hunt of Verstappen throughout much of the race.
2007 Hungarian Grand Prix
Teammate rivalry has often reached boiling point in races but Hamilton instead found himself in a fierce Qualifying battle on his first trip to the Hungaroring as a F1 driver in 2007.
Having comfortably topped Q1 and Q2, Hamilton found himself favourite for pole position ahead of McLaren teammate – Fernando Alonso yet Q3 would serve as one of the early boiling points in their season-long title fight.
Hamilton was quickest after the first two flying laps ahead of Alonso who decided to pit ahead of the Brit in a double-stack pit-stop at McLaren, only to stall for 10s when released by the pit crew which cost Hamilton who was unable to complete his outlap before the checkered flag was waved.
Alonso meanwhile proceeded to post 1m 19.674 to claim pole on his final flier ahead of Hamilton who had to settle for second and 0.107s off his teammate, until Stewards decided to punish Alonso for impeding Hamilton with a five-place grid penalty which lifted Hamilton onto pole position.
Karma consequently was served for Alonso as Hamilton dominated from lights to flag without relinquishing the lead for any part of the race, with the Spaniard finishing fourth which saw his two-point title deficit increase to five points.
Both drivers however missed out on the title by a single point after Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen dug deep to snatch the title in a three-way title decider at Interlagos, Sao Paolo, Brazil to conclude the 2007 season.
2020 Hungarian Grand Prix
Last season’s trip to Hungary saw weather play its part throughout the weekend as Hamilton topped FP1, only to fail to set a time in FP2 due to wet conditions which meant a packed FP3 programme as he finished second behind Bottas.
Hamilton however went on to blitz Qualifying to claim his 90th pole position in F1 before dominating the race unchallenged, despite damp track conditions impacting the opening laps as he lapped everyone who finished sixth or lower and was able to make a late stop for softs to post the fastest lap.
In fact, this was simply Hamilton’s most dominant drive yet around the Hungaroring as evidenced by the number of cars lapped compared to his previous victories here, although he did go better in Spain and Portugal last season lapping all but top four and five drivers at those races respectively.
This race though was slightly unusual in that it was the third race in an opening triple-header due to the Coronavirus pandemic causing calendar changes, with Hamilton entering the round six points behind Bottas yet emerged five points clear as he charged to an eventual seventh title.