F1 Rewind: 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix

As F1 heads to Hungary for the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, let rewind to 2006 and relive a classic Hungarian GP. 

With 11 teams, different tyre manufacturers and Fernando Alonso at his peak, the 2006 Hungarian GP marked the 13th round of the season with a real title battle between the Spaniard and Michael Schumacher. 

 

Practice

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FP1 saw plenty of surprises as McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen topped the timesheets from Anthony Davidson and Michael Schumacher, whilst both Renault and Red Bull cars failed to set a time. 

FP2 however saw a true picture emerge as Felipe Massa finished fastest for Ferrari ahead of the Renaults of Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella with 1.411s separating the trio. 

Michael Schumacher topped FP3 from Massa with Robert Kubica and Rubens Barrichello popping up in fourth, ahead of the Renaults of Alonso and Fisichella. 

 

Qualifying

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Alonso carried a two second penalty into qualifying for overtaking under yellow flags in practice, which meant that two seconds would be added to each of his lap times throughout Qualifying.

Michael Schumacher also received the same punishment for overtaking Alonso and Kubica under a red flag in FP3. 

Both drivers consequently suffered Q2 exits in 15th and 12 positions respectively, although Schumacher benefitted from a engine penalty for Jenson Button who qualified fourth but dropped to 14th as a result of his ten place grid penalty. 

Christijan Albers also received an engine penalty after changing his power unit, but the Dutchman had qualified in 21st so only dropped one position to prop up the field. 

Raikkonen meanwhile took pole with a 1m 19.599 ahead of Massa and Barrichello, as Pedro de la Rosa, Mark Webber, Ralf Schumacher, Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Kubica and Nick Heidfeld completed the top ten once penalties had been applied to the grid. 

 

Race

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As the Hungaroring celebrated the 21st Hungarian GP, rain finally arrived at this race on race day for the very first time, forcing everyone to start on intermediate tyres as Raikkonen raced off into an early lead. 

Massa meanwhile made a terrible start which allowed Barrichello and De La Rosa to get past, whilst Michael Schumacher, Button and Alonso had made up several places at the start

Alonso however would soon get pass Schumacher for fifth on lap three and snatch the lead after the opening round of pit stops, as those on Bridgestone tyres began to struggle in the wet conditions. 

Michael Schumacher’s day took a disastrous turn when he lost his front wing whilst battling Fisichella for fifth, consequently putting him a lap down. 

Button soon afterwards made moves on Massa, Fisichella and Schumacher whilst Raikkonen struggled on his second set of tyres to the extent that he ended up crashing into Vitantonio Luizzi’s Toro Rosso to end their races and trigger a safety car. 

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Alonso pitted whilst retaining the lead whilst Michael Schumacher was able to get himself back onto the lead lap.

Once the safety car had returned to the pits, Button unleashed a charge on Alonso until he had to pit for more fuel which put him out of the picture until a wheel nut worked loose on Alonso’s car causing him to crash. 

Button consequently inherited the lead which he controlled to the flag ahead of Michael Schumacher, who had to retire on lap 67 with suspension damage after failing to pit for dry tyres when the rest of field made their final stops. 

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Button therefore went on to take his maiden F1 victory after 113 races and would mark the last Honda powered victory until Max Verstappen won the 2019 Austrian GP with Red Bull. 

De La Rosa and Heidfeld rounded out the podium placings ahead of Barrichello, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Massa, whilst Schumacher snatched the final point despite retiring from the race on lap 67. 

That point meant that Michael Schumacher had cut his deficit to Fernando Alonso to ten points in the drivers’ championship, with Massa, Fisichella and Raikkonen rounding out the top five as they battled for third place. 

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