Hungarian Grand Prix, lap one, revisited

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A while ago I asked whether Fernando Alonso or Michael Schumacher’s massive position gains on the opening lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix were anything special – indeed, whether they were worthy of comparison with Ayrton Senna’s at Donington Park in 1993.

I was fascinated to see Darren Morgan asked that very question of Autosport’s F1 correspondent Nigel Roebuck in their excellent ‘Ask Nigel’ feature, but was surprised by his reply:

I can’t honestly say the starts of Schumacher and Alonso at the Hungaroring, impressive as they were, particularly reminded me of Senna’s opening lap at Donington in 1993… The majority of the work was done in the opening seconds – literally away from the grid. Ayrton at Donington was a different thing.

Everyone’s entitled to form an opinion, of course, but I strongly disagree with this. Schumacher certainly gained most of his positions off the start line but Alonso clearly did not (as our earlier analysis of their starts show).

Alonso’s start was wholly reminiscent of Senna’s, in that once he’d passed one car he’d decimate the gap to the next then pass it as if it were standing still. To my mind, he demonstrated exactly the same intuitive grasp for the levels of grip on a changing and inconsistent surface that Senna did on that celebrated day.

The onboard video of Alonso’s start (below, thanks again to Don Speekingleesh for the tip) leaves me in absolutely no doubt.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Hungarian Grand Prix, lap one, revisited”

  1. Despite the current form in terms of points, Fernando remains as something a bit special in my eyes. He has something that others do not. Maybe Schumacher had it in 1991 (I don’t know, I didn’t witness his early years), but Alonso has the edge that the others (even Schumacher) haven’t got or no longer hold. I get the impression that the first lap at Hungary (or Donington) was merely the tip of the iceberg…

    …To make sense of my ramblings, I believe Alonso has the capability of destroying any record set by Schumacher. He just has to play his cards right and drive like there is no tomorrow!

  2. Absolutely agree with Oliver… I believe he is playing his cards right as well by switching to Mc Laren… They will be clearly very strong come the last GP of 2006 and with the engine freeze that will clearly help him in 2007

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