It’s late July in Hungary, which means the ruin pubs are full, music festivals abound, and racing fans from around the world descend upon Hungary for its contribution to Formula 1, the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring Racetrack, 19 kilometers outside of Budapest. There will be no shortage of intrigue this year, with British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton returning to attempt to take his fifth – yes, fifth – win at the race. The only other driver to take four wins at Hungaroring is Michael Schumacher.
Despite the enthusiasm for the race locally, only one Hungarain driver has ever started an F1 race. That was Zsolt Baumgartner who drove for Jordan in 2003 and Minardi in 2004, scoring one point at the Grand Prix in Indianapolis in 2004. According to the site bleacherreport.com, Hungarian Ferenc Szisz, won the first ever grand prix, which took place in 1906 near Le Mans.
Hungaroring (official site here) opened in 1986, making it one of the more modern tracks on the Formula 1 circuit. It also has one of the most challenging designs, calling on drivers’ cornering ability, with its sharp curves. Just because the Grand Prix takes place in summer doesn’t mean the track is deserted in spring: locals are permitted to drag race monthly; you might even see a souped-up Trabant. Located in a valley, around 80 percent course is visible from most points, making it a striking and exciting location for spectators and film-makers alike.
It’s interesting to examine the international press’s impressions of Budapest when covering the race. According to the Guardian: “It is easy to feel rapture for Budapest, for the “dustless highway” of its Danube, its basilicas and bridges, the cool respite of the Buda Hills and the memorial of Heroes’ Square…” So with that, a ‘rapturous’ good luck to Lewis Hamilton and all the other drivers at this year’s Hungaroring.
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