The Top-Five Races Of The Decade: Hungaroring 2006

Adam Flinn@@F1AdamCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2009

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - AUGUST 06:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and Honda Racing celebrates his first ever Formula One victory after winning the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on August 6, 2006 in Budapest, Hunagary.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The final entry of what I believe to be the top five races of the decade was a tough one. I toyed with the idea of Australia 2002, Brazil 2006 and a few others, but I eventually picked the scene of Jenson Button's first race victory, the 2006 Hungarian GP.

In the run-up to this race, Jacques Villeneuve had left the BMW Sauber team, replaced by Robert Kubica. Juan Pablo Montoya had also left McLaren a few races beforehand, with Pedro De La Rosa standing in for the Colombian.

The weekend started in bizarre fashion, as the two main championship contenders, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, received penalties for incidents that occurred in the practice sessions. A two-second penalty was applied to both of their qualifying times, effectively relegating them to the midfield.

Jenson Button was forced to make an engine change, meaning he would be joining Alonso and Schumacher out of position after a 10-place grid penalty.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified at the front of the grid, accompanied by Felipe Massa. Schumacher started 11th, Button 14th and Alonso 15th.

The race began in wet conditions, making it the first ever Hungarian Grand Prix to be affected by rain. Schumacher had a good start, moving into sixth, but was blown away by Alonso, who rocketed up to third position.

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Battling with Giancarlo Fisichella, Schumacher lost his front wing and emerged from the pits a lap down. Button then overtook Schumacher, Fisichella and Massa in the space of a couple of laps.

Soon after his pit-stop, Raikkonen came across the Toro Rosso of Vitantonio Liuzzi, resulting in an impressive crash and an appearance by the safety car. After the customary pit-stops, Alonso found himself leading Button.

However, just after a stop for dry tires, Alonso's wheel detached and sent the Spaniard into the barriers, ending a great drive to move from 15th to the front. Button took over at the front, and the battle for second became the main focus.

Michael Schumacher gambled by staying on the intermediate tire and had jumped up into second place. However, the drivers behind him began to close in.

Schumacher, controversial as ever, jumped the chicane in his efforts to hold onto second, but was eventually passed by De La Rosa. Nick Heidfeld then took the final podium place, banging wheels with the Ferrari in the process.

With two laps to go, Schumacher's damaged suspension put him out of the race. The eventual classifications would give him a point for eighth.

Meanwhile, Jenson Button was unchallenged at the front and cruised to his first win in Formula 1. De La Rosa claimed his best ever result, and Sauber recorded their first podium since the partnership with BMW was formed.

Post-race, Kubica was disqualified after finishing a decent seventh, as his car was deemed to be underweight. Despite pre-race expectations that he could win his first grand prix, Massa could only manage a disappointing seventh after Kubica's disqualification.

One of the most memorable things of this race has to be James Allen's "commentary" especially his celebratory screaming as Button crossed the line to win.

Who needs neutrality in commentators, eh?

Amazingly, this outburst won ITV a BAFTA.

Well, that ends what I think were the best five races of the last decade:
Silverstone 2003
Suzuka 2005
Nurburgring 2007
Interlagos 2008

Feel free to disagree.