Alonso promises strong emotions at the Hungarian GP

Two days after his 40th birthday, Fernando Alonso arrives at the Hungarian Grand Prix convinced that it could be the best race of the season. The

Two days after his 40th birthday, arrives at the Hungarian Grand Prix convinced that it could be the best race of the season. The Alpine rider believes that at the Hungaroring circuit, near Budapest and where in 2003 he achieved his first victory, it is the scenario that “really adapts” to the resources of his car. “I think we came to the circuit that really suits our resources. Of course, it also happened last year, with Alpine’s first victory”, says Alonso, recalling the triumph of his teammate, Frenchman Esteban Ocon.

“The race also usually falls around my birthday, so it’s a good weekend for me, with a lot of memories, and it’s hard to pick one. It is a fun track and a real challenge as a driver”, adds the Spaniard, who turns 40 on July 29.

Recalling last week’s French Grand Prix, in which he finished sixth, Alonso says: “It was a good Sunday for us after a difficult weekend. We had a hard time finding the right set-up during practice and weren’t too happy with the balance until just before qualifying.” “However, we showed that when we can have a clean weekend, aiming for the top seven positions is a very realistic target for us, as we feel quite comfortable in the race,” he says.

“Budapest was where I got my first win in Formula One. We had a good car that year and we were building something very strong for the years to come. But we didn’t expect a win that year.”recalls the Spaniard, twice world champion.

A classic in the calendar

The Hungarian Grand Prix, the thirteenth of the year, is a classic of the F-1 World Championship and was a revolution when, in 1986 it became the first venue in the former communist bloc to host a premier class race. Formula One on the other side of the iron curtain? Practically unimaginable, just a couple of years before the circuit on the outskirts of the Hungarian capital hosted, on August 10, the eleventh of the 16 races that year.

But few things seemed impossible to him. Bernie Ecclestone, the genius who devised and developed all this monumental sporting spectacle resulting in a multimillion-dollar business that was his property for several decades. Long before the term globalization was coined, the former British driver, team manager and businessman was once again ahead of his times, taking a new step in the universalization of F-1: penetrating the previously impermeable territory of the countries that made up the former Warsaw Pact.

The Hungarian debut was awarded Nelson Picketthe father of ‘Nelsinho’ -former F-1 driver, Alonso’s partner and winner of Formula E, the electric championship: also unimaginable 36 years ago- and of Kelly Piquet, usually present on the circuits together with the current champion and leader of the queen category, the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull).

Nelson won on August 10, 1986 ahead of another triple Brazilian world champion, the ill-fated Ayrton Senna, and the Englishman Nigel Mansell -who would be crowned in 1992-. On a track that was then 4,014 meters (now it is 4,381) and in which Frenchman Alain Prost, who would end up revalidating his title that year – the second of his four crowns – had an accident and left. Piquet repeated victory a year later, but Ayrton would improve it in 1992, winning for the third time in a country that today has little to do with communism. And in whose statistics four other world champions also count two successes: the English Damon Hill, the Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, the (double crowned) Finn Mika Hakkinen and the German (quadruple winner) Sebastian Vettel.

Senna was surpassed in 2004, with his fourth win at the Hungaroring, by seven-time German world champion Michael Schumacher., whose record for F-1 titles was equaled two years ago by Englishman Lewis Hamilton, who would end up breaking numerous records (that once seemed unattainable) of the “Kaiser”. Among them, the victories in , where the spectacular and eccentric Stevenage champion -103 wins and as many pole positions- achieved his eighth success two years ago, in one of his talismanic circuits.