First, Last & Only: Hungarian Grand Prix

From historic teams’ final appearances to first wins for future champions, here are five milestone events which have happened at the Hungarian Grand Prix!

2009: First time a driver born in the 1990s competed in F1

After a spell of poor performance, French driver Sebastien Bourdais was dropped from Toro Rosso after the 2009 German Grand Prix. He was replaced by Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari. Born in 1990, Alguersuari became the first driver born in the 1990s to compete in Formula 1. At the age of 19, he also became the sport’s youngest ever race starter; a record which has since been beaten by Max Verstappen. 

Alguersuari qualified in last place for the event, eight tenths off the pace of team-mate Sebastien Buemi – though he ended the race ahead of the Swiss driver. He continued to race in F1 with Toro Rosso until the end of the 2011 season, when both he and Buemi were replaced by Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.  Alguersuari retired from racing in 2015.

1993: First win for Damon Hill

Damon Hill took the first victory of his career at the 1993 Hungarian Grand Prix. Hill’s Williams team-mate Alain Prost had qualified on pole but stalled on the grid, so had to start from the back of the grid. Hill effectively started from pole, giving him a good shot at winning his first race after a series of near-misses earlier in the season. He went on to lead the entirety of the race and won by over 70 seconds. 

Damon’s victory was the first for a driver using the number 0 on their car, as well as the first for the son of a World Champion. Hill won the race again in 1995 and came close to doing so for a third time in 1997 with Arrows, but a throttle failure saw him able to finish only second.

2005: Last F1 race to be sponsored by a Tobacco company

The 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix was officially known as the “XXI Marlboro Magyar Nagydij”. It was the last race which Marlboro sponsored, and the last time any Grand Prix was sponsored by a tobacco company. Half of the ten teams also ran with tobacco advertising on their cars over the race weekend, with West, Lucky Strike, Malboro, Mild Seven and Benson & Hedges all being represented.

A European ban on tobacco advertising came into force on July 31, 2005, the day on which the Grand Prix was held, bringing to an end over 40 years of cigarette sponsorship in Formula 1. As such, some of the teams ran with tobacco-laden liveries through to qualifying and then took the stickers off in time for the race, while others (namely Ferrari, Renault and Jordan) left the sponsorship on for Sunday.

Despite the various bans, even in 2020 some teams still run advertising from tobacco companies. Mission Winnow, featured on Ferrari’s cars, is a Philip Morris-owned organisation, while British American Tobacco sponsor McLaren.

1992: Last race for Brabham

The Brabham team made their final Formula 1 appearance at the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix. The team had been founded in 1960 by then reigning World Champion Jack Brabham and designer Ron Tauranac. In their history, the team had won four Drivers’ Championships and two Constructors’ Championships, but by 1986 they had begun to tumble down the order. 

Aside from Eric van de Poele’s thirteenth place at the season-opening South African Grand Prix, all of their other entries resulted in non-qualifications. Damon Hill had joined the team from the Spanish round onwards and in Hungary, the team’s final race, he brought his car home in eleventh place; albeit four laps down on the winner. The team ran out of funds soon after and became one of four teams to fold that season.

2008: Heikki Kovalainen’s only Formula 1 victory

Heikki Kovalainen took the only win of his career at the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix. The Finn’s win was somewhat fortuitous. Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa battled for the lead in the early stages, but a puncture for Hamilton at the halfway point allowed Massa to build a 20 second gap over Hamilton’s McLaren team-mate Kovalainen. After a dominant display in the second half of the race, Massa’s Ferrari engine gave up with just three laps to go, allowing Kovalainen to take the lead. Kovalainen finished eleven seconds ahead of Timo Glock, with the German celebrating his first podium finish.

Kovalainen was the 100th different driver to win a Grand Prix in Formula 1 history. Eleven years later, Max Verstappen became the sport’s 100th different polesitter at the same circuit. While Damon Hill, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button all took the first wins of their careers in Hungary, Kovalainen is the only driver to have scored their sole victory at the Hungaroring.

The 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix takes place at the Hungaroring on July 29-31.

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