The 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix might be remembered for hosting Jenson Button's first ever Formula One victory. Equally, we might remember it for providing an action packed three days and a race influenced by indecisive weather and driver penalties.
While Honda's Button was joined on the podium by McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa and Sauber BMW's Nick Heidfeld, the Championship leaders, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher both retired from the race. Felipe Massa came home in eighth.
The normally subdued practice sessions on Friday, had significant implications on the result of the Grand Prix. Following Friday practice the marshals imposed a two second penalty on Alonso's qualifying time. This was due to an on-track incident involving Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos and for overtaking under a yellow flag. During Saturday morning practice, Schumacher was also handed a two second penalty for overtaking under red flag conditions.
Raikkonen took his second pole position in a row during qualifying, just in front of Felipe Massa. However all eyes were on the penalised drivers, with Schumacher driving some fantastic laps to take 11th place - just outside the cut off point. Alonso took 15th place.
On a wet race day, while Raikkonen held his lead at the start, the penalties incurred by Schumacher and Alonso did not seem to matter, as both made spectacular starts. By the end of the first lap the German found himself up in fourth with Alonso in sixth.
The first half of the Grand Prix saw the Ferraris struggle in the conditions, as both cars were pushed further down the field. Schumacher's chances were jeopardised early on, when a tap by the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella broke his front wing, forcing him to come in for a pit-stop.
However, at the mid-way point of the race, the track showed signs of drying and the Shell V-Power fuelled Ferraris came into their own. Schumacher set some of the fastest times and it was not long before he caught up with the competition ahead.
Over the course of the 70 laps, cars spun as they had trouble with the wet weather conditions, their tyre choices and their visibility. The driver line-up changed as quickly as the track surface; within a short space of time, Raikkonen, Fisichella and Mark Webber were walking back to the pit lane.
Despite Schumacher's improved pace, Alonso's victory seemed imminent until a drive shaft failure caused him to retire. This handed Button the lead and Schumacher the possibility of narrowing the gap considerably in the championship.
Nevertheless, having battled his way up to second place with several laps remaining, he was passed by de la Rosa. Then in a duel with Heidfeld, a track-rod broke on the 248 F1 causing Schumacher to retire.
Lisa Lilley Shell's Formula One Project Manager said; 'The teams came to Hungary expecting hot, dry conditions but instead we've all found ourselves in a chilly, wet paddock. In terms of our lubricant products in the car, this is no bad thing – it's something our products can adapt to very easily.'
After the race, Robert Kubica who had finished in seventh place was disqualified, when his BMW Sauber was found to be underweight. As a result, Massa moves up to into seventh place with Schumacher now classified eighth.
This extra point means that Schumacher is now only ten points behind Alonso in the Drivers' Championship. Renault's lead over Ferrari in the Constructors' table has been reduced to just seven points.
The teams have a short break until they have to fly out to Turkish Grand Prix, due to take place on August 27th.