Fans were just as hot as the asphalt as Formula One racecars lined up at the start line at the Hungaroring track in Budapest this past weekend as familiar drivers and racing teams revved their engines to compete in the 70-lap erratically curved course near the center of the historic, ancient city.
Budapest’s Hungaroring track was first constructed in 1936, making it one of the oldest in Eastern Europe, and the Grand Prix race there drew nearly 200,000 spectators to see what all the fuss was about. They’ve been doing it ever since, and this year’s 2007 race was no different.
The race circuit, reaching just shy of three miles in length, took familiar faces and cars zipping around four hair-raising turns, a few milder turns and short straight-aways which roared with engines as Lewis Hamilton, from the McLaren-Mercedes team, vied for the lead with competitor Kimi Raikkonen from the Ferrari team to win the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix. The win for Hamilton was part due to a penalty served to his teammate, Fernando Alonso, who was set at the sixth place in pole positions, offering him no real chance of competing for the lead.
However, things didn’t go so smoothly for the Ferrari team either. Ferrari’s driver Felipe Massa described his own performance in this past weekend’s F1 race as “horrible”, and while his teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished the race with the fastest lap times, he was unable to edge ahead of Hamilton, who seemed bound and determined to win the Formula One race in Budapest after running behind Raikkonen in previous races, including in Britain.
Germany’s Nick Heidfeld, driving for BMW, gave both Raikkonen and Hamilton reason to keep checking their rear view mirrors. It is well known that the secret to winning at this very difficult course is through pit strategy, and while great racing skills certainly come in handy, planning and timing is the key to success on a course that limits passing and side-by-side sprints along its straight-aways.
The race was, as usual, a thrill for fans at the track, one that hosted one of the first Formula One races behind the former Iron Curtain. The track is one filled with twists and turns, narrow lanes and contains many sections where cars are forced to line up, one behind the other, because of the impossibility of passing. It causes competition between teammates and competitors alike, and this year was no different. A rift has developed in the relationship between the McLaren-Mercedes team between young rising star Lewis Hamilton and his teammate, Fernando Alonso, and only time will tell if the rift developes into a gulf that can’t be bridged.
Despite the heated race, Hamilton finished the 70 laps in first place for McLaren-Mercedes, while Finn Kimi Raikkonen finished second and German Nick Heidfeld picked up the third place spot.
Perhaps the brief respite coming up between this race in Budapest and the next scheduled Formula One Grand Prix race in Turkey will give tempers and tyres a chance to cool off. The next race, scheduled in Istanbul, will prove to be interesting, in more ways than one. Now, there’s more at stake that wins. Fans are wondering if fractured team temperaments will be mended by then or not.
Grand Prix fans can see a report of the most famous Grand Prix of them all, Monaco, at YourMonaco.com
The Monaco Grand Prix is round the streets of Monte Carlo and Monaco hotels such as the Hotel de Paris.