Behind the 'Iron Curtain'
In 1986 Bernie Ecclestone made headlines with the very first Formula 1 race behind the 'Iron Curtain'. The Berlin Wall was still standing and the West was still involved in the Cold War with the East. Ecclestone surprises with his choice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
In Hungary, however, people worked hard behind the scenes to get make it happen. Where the idea was first to build a street circuit like Monaco in Népliget (the largest park of the capital Budapest), the circuit was finally built by the government just next to the city in Mogyoród.
Lack of rain
The Grand Prix is generally held in the summer and it is therefore not surprising that until 2006, Hungary was the only Grand Prix where it never rained during a race. In 2006 this changed and it was Jenson Button with his Honda who gave the audience a big surprise.
The circuit in Hungary has a unique character in that respect. It is very narrow and very winding, which is why it is also called Monaco without walls. Overtaking is almost impossible and so tactics play an important role. Thierry Boutsen managed to win in 1990 in his Williams, by keeping Ayrton Senna behind him in the faster McLaren.
In the early years of the Hungarian Grand Prix it was the Brazilians who triumphed the most. Nelson Piquet won the first two editions and Ayrton Senna won another three in the following five seasons. Senna and Piquet remained at the top for a long time, until Michael Schumacher appeared on stage in 1994.
In the end Schumacher won four times at the Hungaroring. He first won in 1994, before securing wins in 1998, 2001 and 2004 in Mogyoród. However, after Schumacher, there ws another driver on the track who knows how to deal with the twisty Hungary: Lewis Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton is the best
Hamilton knows how to win, even if he doesn’t has the best car. For example, he won in 2009, 2012 and 2013 when he wasn't competing for the World title.
In 2007 he and Fernando Alonso had the best car, but they eliminated themselves by deliberately waiting in the pit lane during qualifying, so Hamilton couldn't drive another lap. It was a waste of effort because Hamilton won anyway and Alonso finished fourth.
Hamilton took his tally to a record eight wins after victories in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Max Verstappen took his first pole of his career in 2019 on this circuit but had to settle for second place. Mercedes' strategic move turned out to be too powerful for Red Bull Racing to help Verstappen to achieve an otherwise almost certain victory.