Hungarian Grand Prix – 1986


After stealing the scene in Germany, Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet arrived for the Hungarian Grand Prix facing high expectations from the public. They did not disappoint. At Hockenheim, Senna had started in third place and finished in second, while Piquet started in fourth and won the race.

Two weeks later, the foreign press spotlight was still turned on the Brazilians, even as Nigel Mansell led the tournament with 51 points, followed by Alain Prost, with 44 – two ahead of Senna. Piquet was in fourth place, with 38 points.

The Hungarian circuit had just been opened, in 1986, and was hosting a Formula One race for the first time. Bernie Ecclestone, F1 supremo, was realizing his dream of breaking through the so called Iron Curtain, showing that the category could be in business with countries from the Eastern Block.

The European summer made temperatures during the weekend extremely high. The air was dry and there was still a lot of dust in and around the circuit, since a few of its areas were still unfinished.

In the qualifying rounds, Senna secured the pole position with his Lotus, with a time of 1min29s450, 0s335 faster than Piquet and his Williams. Prost, with McLaren, and Piquet’s teammate Mansell would be sharing the second row.

Even after scoring the quickest lap, Senna wasn’t totally happy. The driver made sure to mention the dirt on the track during his press conference: “I think that I’ve spun out more than in the whole rest of my career”, joked the car #’12 driver.

On Sunday, the Hungaroring Speedway – located just 20 km away from Hungary’s capital Budapest – received around 200 thousand spectators for the unprecedented race in the country.

At the start, Senna had good traction and held on to his lead. Mansell was quicker than Piquet and Prost, taking the second position. Piquet’s payback came in the third lap. From then on, he went after Senna.

Prost had trouble in the warm-up lap, changed cars and fell to fifth place during the start, behind Lola’s Patrick Tambay, who had started in sixth. The McLaren driver made his way back to fourth place on lap six.

As the laps went by, Senna and Piquet distanced themselves from the pack – mainly because Mansell kept holding back the other cars, until he was overtaken by Prost on lap 11. Ayrton lost his lead in the same lap, when Piquet managed to pass him at the main straight braking point.

Prost was the only driver capable of threatening the Brazilians’ dominance, but his McLaren had electrical problems on lap 23 and he was forced to retire.

Even before their respective pit-stops, Ayrton Senna had already started to catch on to Piquet. Ayrton took the lead back on lap 36, when Piquet stopped to change tires. Lotus did a better job at their pit-stop and Senna came back ahead.

From that point forward, the race became a duel – Mansell, who was in third, would eventually finish the race more than a lap behind the winner. After 51 laps, Senna had a 5s8 advantage over his compatriot. There were still 25 laps to go, and the Williams was performing better with new tires.

Piquet closed the gap in two laps and made use of his Honda engine to overtake Senna at the end of the straight, only to see his fellow Brazilian immediately take the lead back with an “X” maneuver.

By the end of the 55th lap, Senna was in the lead, while Piquet gave his brakes a rest. But Ayrton couldn’t hold on for another lap. Piquet braked late once again, while the Lotus driver got out of the way, allowing Nelson to go for it. This time, Piquet was able to keep his Williams ahead of Senna.

Right after that, Piquet opened a comfortable lead and crossed the finish line in first. Senna came in second and Mansell rounded out the podium. Ferrari’s Stefan Johansson was fourth, Senna’s teammate Johnny Dumfries was fifth and Tyrell’s Martin Brundle was the last driver to score points, in sixth.

The duel between Senna and Piquet is so ingrained in the memory of F1 fans that the Hungrian circuit – a track that allows for few overtakes and where races can be monotonous – is still in the F1 calendar.

It was the second one-two for the Brazilian drivers. The duo’s dominance was so overwhelming that the Italian magazine Autosprint asked:

“Might we have a Formula 1 World Title decision between these two Brazilians?”

The result kept Mansell on the top of the standings, with 55 points. Prost, who didn’t score, was passed by Senna, now with 48, and Piquet, with 47. The decade’s four best drivers were just 11 points apart in the season. The following race would be taking place in Austria, over the next weekend.

Resumo da Corrida

  • 1 Ayrton Senna
  • 2 N. Piquet
  • 3 A. Prost
  • 4 N. Mansell
  • 5 K. Rosberg
  • 6 P. Tambay
  • 7 S. Johansson
  • 8 J. Drumfries
  • 9 R. Arnoux
  • 10 A. Jones
  • 11 G. Berger
  • 12 P. Alliot
  • 13 T. Fabi
  • 14 R. Patrese
  • 15 M. Alboreto
  • 16 M. Brundle
  • 17 A. Nannini
  • 18 P. Streiff
  • 19 D. Warwick
  • 20 A. de Cesaris
  • 21 C. Danner
  • 22 T. Boutsen
  • 23 P. Ghinzani
  • 24 J. Palmer
  • 25 H. Rothengatter
  • 26 A. Berg
Voltas 76
Tempo Ensolarado
Volta mais rápida N. Piquet - 1´31´´001
Podium 1º N. Piquet 2º Ayrton Senna 3º N. Mansell
Carros 26
Abandonos 16

Senna na corrida

Posição de largada 1
Posição final 2
Melhor volta 1’31’’261
Pontos somados para o Campeonato 6
Posição no Campeonato após a prova 2
O que disse após a prova
“There are still five races left until the end of the championship. Nothing is definitive yet.”