The 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, otherwise known as the Marlboro Magyar Nagydíj 2003, was the thirteenth round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World CHampionship, staged on the 24 August 2003 at the Hungaroring near Budapest, Hungary. The race would become famed as the breakout result for Fernando Alonso, who broke Bruce McLaren's 43 year old record as the youngest driver to win a World Championship Grand Prix.
Indeed, Alonso had been in fine form throughout the weekend, storming to pole position in qualifying ahead of Ralf Schumacher. Mark Webber was another standout name, claiming third for Jaguar-Ford Cosworth ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya, the first of the main title pretenders.
The start saw Alonso scamper away from the grid unopposed, with Schumacher getting caught out on the dirty side of the grid. He duly tumbled down the order with teammate Montoya, before a collision at the first corner saw the #4 Williams-BMW get pitched into a spin.
Webber hence led the chase to catch Alonso from Kimi Räikkönen, with the Australian racer soon forming a bottleneck despite running on low fuel. Indeed, while the Hungaroring had undergone some major revisions since 2002, overtaking remained difficult at best throughout the field.
Hence, Alonso was able to stop on lap fourteen having built up a 21 second lead, and duly rejoined in second behind Räikkönen. The Finn continued to lead until he made his stop on lap sixteen, handing a seemingly decisive advantage back to the young Spaniard, while Webber slipped even further back.
Luck was also in for Alonso during the race, with the stewards opting against throwing Safety Car in the wake of a suspension failure for Rubens Barrichello, despite the fact that the Ferrari had slammed into the barriers on the outside of turn one. Furthermore, while Räikkönen and Webber were a distant second and third, the rest of the field were being held up by Alonso's teammate Jarno Trulli.
The Trulli train lasted until the Italian pitted on lap 32, by which stage Alonso had pitted for a second time and rejoined without losing the lead. The Spaniard was hence left unopposed at the head of the field, with the interest now lying in the fight to make it onto the podium behind second placed Räikkönen.
Juan Pablo Montoya was among those, and a series of fastest laps after Trulli's stop carried him from third in the train to third on track, dancing out of the pitlane just ahead of Webber. The Australian youth's maiden podium hopes took a further blow when Ralf Schumacher dived past shortly before the third round of stops.
The third round of stops produced little change to the order, although David Coulthard made a lot of ground to move onto the back of Ralf Schumacher, while Michael Schumacher tumbled away from the group. Indeed, the Championship leader would be lapped by young Alonso in the closing stages, with his major title rivals Räikkönen and Montoya also able to put a lap on the #1 Ferrari.
With that the race was run, with Alonso cruising across the line to claim his record maiden win, aged 22 years and 26 days. Räikkönen and Montoya completed the podium to demolish Schumacher's lead to just a couple of points, as Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard, Webber, Trulli and the aforementioned Ferrari ace claimed the rest of the points.
Alonso's record would stand for five years until Sebastian Vettel claimed victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso-Ferrari, aged 21 years and 73 days. It was also the first win for the factory Renault team since the 1983 Austrian Grand Prix, and a first triumph for a Renault badged engine since the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix.
The first corner accident at the Hockenheimring may well have proved to b the key moment in the Championship hunt, as Kimi Räikkönen, Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello all failed to score. That hence allowed Michael Schumacher to extend his lead to six points, while Juan Pablo Montoya moved into second ahead of Räikkönen to become the German ace's closest threat. Behind, Fernando Alonso had also gained a little ground on those ahead, although he would have to win all four remaining races, and see Schumacher fail to score.
In the Constructors Championship, meanwhile, it had been a very good afternoon for Williams-BMW, as they slashed the lead at the top of the Championship to just two points. Ferrari had therefore just managed to hang onto the lead courtesy of Schumacher's points, while McLaren-Mercedes had kept pace to ensure it would be a three horse race for the foreseeable future. Renault were next but effectively out of the hunt, while BAR-Honda headed the rest of the field in fifth.
The full entry list for the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix is outlined below:
- * Baumgartner replaced Firman during the race weekend after the Irishman crashed during practice.
|4||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:23.748||+1.518||27|
|5||18||Justin Wilson||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:24.209||+1.979||40|
|6||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:25.321||+3.091||28|
|7||36||Zsolt Baumgartner||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:26.006||+3.776||39|
|8||18||Nicolas Kiesa||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:26.252||+4.022||34|
|9||12||Ralph Firman||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:26.600||+4.370||38|
|10||39||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:27.036||+4.806||30|
|11||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:27.399||+5.169||7|
The full qualifying results for the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|3||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:22.625||1:22.027||+0.339s|
|4||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:23.305||1:22.180||+0.492s|
|12||15||Justin Wilson||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:24:343||1:23.660||+1.972s|
|13||11||Giancarlo Fisichella||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:24:725||1:23.726||+2.038s|
|15||21||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:55:138||1:23.982||+2.294s|
|18||19||Jos Verstappen||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:26.052||1:26.423||+4.735s|
|19||12||Zsolt Baumgartner||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||—||1:26.678||+4.990s|
|20||18||Nicolas Kiesa||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:27.023||1:28.907||+7.219s|
|WD*||12||Ralph Firman||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||Withdrawn|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
- * Firman was withdrawn from the rest of the weekend due to injuries sustained during practice.
|______________||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|Cristiano da Matta||16|
Post-race, Ferrari complained about Michelin's front tires used by its competitors, which, according to the complaint, were wider than allowed towards the end of the race and thereafter. Michelin had to narrow its tires by the next race.
The full results for the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- 300th Grand Prix for Minardi as a constructor.
- Honda made their 250th appearance at a Grand Prix as an engine supplier.
- Zsolt Baumgartner made his Grand Prix debut.
- Fernando Alonso registered the 75th pole position for Michelin as a tyre supplier.
- Alonso claimed his maiden victory.
- Alonso became the youngest ever winner of a Grand Prix, aged 22 years 26 days.
- Renault claimed their sixteenth win as a constructor.
- Juan Pablo Montoya secured the 60th podium finish for BMW as an engine supplier.
- Montoya recorded the 125th fastest lap set by a Williams chassis.
Michael Schumacher had seen his title lead obliterated as a result of a poor day in Hungary, leaving the Hungaroring with just a point in hand. Indeed, Juan Pablo Montoya had narrowly missed out on overhauling the German ace, while Kimi Räikkönen had also moved to within two of the title lead. Ralf Schumacher had also gained ground by remained an outside shot for the crown with three rounds left, as was race winner Fernando Alonso.
In the Constructors Championship, meanwhile, Williams-BMW had been the big winners of the battle of Hungary, claiming the lead by eight points. Ferrari made way for them having claimed just a single point, with McLaren-Mercedes sat just six further behind. Renault, meanwhile, had effectively secured fourth in the Championship after Alonso's triumph, with BAR-Honda set to duel with Jaguar-Ford Cosworth and Toyota for fifth.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'Hungarian GP, 2003', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr710.html, (Accessed 13/12/2019)
- 'Hungary 2003: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/hongrie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 13/12/2019)
- 'Hungary 2003: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/hongrie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 13/12/2019)
- 'Hungary 2003: Friday Testing', pitpass.com, (Pitpass, 2003), https://web.archive.org/web/20211104051829/https://www.pitpass.com/src/seasons/2003/gp/hungary/times/fri_test.html, (Accessed 04/11/2021)
- 'Marlboro Magyar Nagydíj 2003 - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/749/hungary/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 13/12/2019)
- 'Marlboro Magyar Nagydíj 2003 - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2003/races/749/hungary/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 13/12/2019)
- ' 2000: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), , (Accessed 01/09/08/2019)
- '13. Hungary 2003', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2003/hongrie.aspx, (Accessed 13/12/2019)
- '2003 Hungarian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2003&gp=Hungarian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 13/12/2019)
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