Formula 1 drivers always have some dates marked in their minds due to some milestone they reached in their career, such as winning their first race or even thinking that this would be the last podium in the highest category of motorsport.
Fernando Alonso went through all that and, curiously, he did it on the same circuit, a historical calendar of the Great Circus, Hungaroring. There, the Spaniard has spent some of the happiest moments of his career, and that is that August 24, 2003 will never be forgotten by Spanish sport, just like July 27, 2014 , the last time he uncorked the champagne until his first retirement from Formula 1.
However, they are not the only memories that the two-time world champion retains of this track, and it is that in Hungarian lands he signed one of the most incredible performances of any rider in the rain, in 2006, a date in which, were it not for the famous nut, it would have been one of his best victories. In addition, on the same asphalt, he showed that age was a simple number for him, and that being at the controls of an uncompetitive Alpine did not matter to put up with a Lewis Hamilton thirsty for victory.
2003 Hungarian Grand Prix: the start of the dream in Formula 1
It was the 13th round of the season, his first at Renault , a team with which he won his two world championships shortly after and in which he still competes, under the name of Alpine. Alonso dominated throughout the weekend, from start to finish, achieving his second pole position and, how could it be otherwise, a tremendous victory that made the whole country vibrate.
The man from Oviedo became the youngest driver to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix, as well as being the first Spaniard to do so, at just 22 years and 26 days , a mark that lasted until the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. when Sebastian Vettel overtook him.
To this we must add that the Spaniard was able to double the star that shone the brightest in the firmament of the Great Circus, Michael Schumacher, who still only had five world championships and who would later fight for his eighth in 2006 with Alonso himself.
2006 Hungarian Grand Prix: an epic performance shattered by a nut
In the 2006 season, Fernando Alonso had a fierce fight with Michael Schumacher, one to retain the title and the other to add the eighth in what would be his first retirement from Formula 1. Some sanctions on both during free practice made them leave from far behind, but it was not an impediment, even in the rain, for the Spaniard to come back at a devilish pace.
From 15th position , the Renault man made his way, and in the first step across the finish line he was already sixth, leaving all his rivals open-mouthed with overtaking never seen before and that only reminded Senna at Donington in 1993. Until reaching the lead of the race on lap 18, gave us a nice exterior to his rival for the world championship, Schumacher, but everything was cut short when on lap 52, after his pit stop, a poorly tightened nut came off and caused hit the guards.
This is how one of what would have been one of Fernando Alonso’s best races escaped, a bittersweet taste that was only fixed with Pedro de la Rosa’s only podium in the highest category of motorsport, on the same day that Jenson Button was released as the winner.
2014 Hungarian Grand Prix: the last podium in red
On July 27 , in the year in which hybrid V6 engines began in Formula 1, Fernando Alonso garnered what would be his last podium until his return to the positions of honor at the historic 2021 Qatar Grand Prix. On that occasion , the Asturian had an uncompetitive Ferrari, with which, through a brilliant tire strategy, he was even fighting for victory with Daniel Ricciardo, who overtook him for the advantage of the tires in the final laps.
However, the two-time champion managed to fend off the attacks of the hungry Silver Arrows, those of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who were locked in a duel for the drivers’ world championship. Both Mercedes bristled at his overtaking attempts, but the Spaniard kept cool in the middle of the Hungarian track to hold onto his position and add to what is his last time as a Ferrari driver popping the champagne in Formula 1.
As a curiosity, since then, the Asturian has only led two more laps in the Great Circus, something that contrasts a lot when seeing that, for example, at that time Hamilton only had one title and 27 victories, while now he has seven world championships and 103 wins.
Hungarian Grand Prix 2021: the proof that never left
After two years out of Formula 1, Fernando Alonso was eager to show that he had not lost his level in his journey through the WEC, the Indianapolis 500 and the Dakar Rally, and in Hungary it was the moment in which he unleashed all his Magic. In an atypical race soaked by the controversial action of Valtteri Bottas colliding with the two Red Bulls at the start and by the change of time just before the restart after a red flag, the Asturian took advantage of his car.
Seconds before the traffic lights went out, all the drivers, except Lewis Hamilton , entered the pits to put on dry tires, while the Englishman left a grotesque image in which he was alone on the starting grid accompanied by the medical car .
The Englishman dropped to the back of the grid after the first lap due to his incorrect choice, allowing others, with several of the favorites to drop out, to take the lead, such as Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel.
The French and the German opened a gap impossible to recover for the mortals thanks to Nicholas Latifi’s stopper, but not for an almighty Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which cut at a rate of several seconds per lap when it had clean air.
That was the case until he ran into the insurmountable wall of Fernando Alonso, who, spurred on by the possibility of victory for his teammate at the Hungaroring , withstood the seven-time world champion’s attacks with titanic resistance, in what could rather be a repetition of what happened in 2014.
After many attempts, Hamilton passed, but the time lost in the battle with the Spaniard allowed Esteban Ocon to win his first Formula 1 race, as Alonso himself did in 2003.
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