My experience of Hungarian Grand Prix


After 18 years of following F1 more than any other sport, for the values i found in it and respected, i decided to honor them and go on a F1 race by all means. I had three other chances in the past and i missed them and now i was stuck with the desire to watch a race but i had no company. I had to go alone, with travel agency. So i went.

Thinking about how it might turn out going without any friends or someone familiar, i said “its okay” that i perhaps “would very easily make one with the people going on this Formula One tour” for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and with them you can do things together. However on arrival on the agreed place i was amazed to find out that actually not one was willing to visit the Hungaroring or watch the race, but instead they were going for the city. I thought i was doomed and that i would had to push things myself. And i tried to prepare for such events by reading previously on google.

Long before i went on the road, i was searching for experiences and hints for what i should or shouldn’t do, when i should or shouldn’t do it and so on and on so i will be better prepared for my first F1 experience…and i found NONE of those ‘valuable things’ that hit me there. Also i found out after the race that it might be due to past experiences and taste, where people mostly in other blogs spoke about some really irrelevant things that they thought were important for them. And about taste you don’t argue – like they say – but still, i can reflect on many things that i have read and say – i should’ve known better!

For example, no one said where you can find drivers for autographs or in what o’clock you need to go in order to be able to meet them and so on. Or one said how “you are far from the cars” and after i came home and one guy told me the same, then he showed me his example and yes he could barely touch them while driving, but for me they were still close from where i was and i didn’t needed more. So to me that didn’t matter. To me other things were more important. So that’s why i said above its about your taste and what you want to experience. There is no really a rule. Anyway i missed that info but still i got lucky! And if i in under such circumstances got lucky, you can get lucky 110% if you read the experience i had from Hungary in my fours days.

Please keep in mind it is my first F1 race and i had never any experience so to me all was unfamiliar and came naturally, all was strange and uncertain that certain things may or may not happen. For example before, i was afraid if i go and i couldn’t find ticket. That’s why i went with an agency. There are plenty of tickets! If i go tomorrow alone i would have no problem buying one and enjoying F1. There are more tickets than the Grand Prix can hold, i talk about General Admission! But then again not everyone is going for the General Admission tickets on their first F1 experience, then it’s better you buy them previously via internet. So, since it was my first i would talk about those tickets that i took and probably the reasons why you need to by a ticket for a Grandstand or you shouldnt. We had General Admission and if you want one as well for your race there is no problem if you go and buy it yourself there directly. No problem at all.

So, why i chose General Admission ticket, why you should or shouldn’t buy it. 

It’s important what you want to see and how much devoted you are. I, going into my first race ever i wanted to see as much as possible from the race and i was prepared to get as earlier as possible if needed to catch good position. To see the cars fighting the corners in different places and i didn’t want to be stuck to one seat and watch whole weekend from one place, although i did so, at very cheaper price! But why? Ill come to that later. Anyway – so i chose the General Admission ticket.

If in Hungary, and i dont know for other grand prix, General Admission ticket allows you to walk around the circuit and see it from different places. All you need to do is walk some 10 minutes on med-fast pace in order to miss less from the driving. I would had pain in my knee if walked too much or run, and i had found damn good spot that i didnt want to let go and i wouldn’t change it even for VIP ticket unless that VIP ticket allowed me a visit in the Ferrari garage or a lunch with Ferrari stuff! You might say i ask too much, no i am not.

Going for the first time on an F1 race where you don’t know what really can happen where you would sit with that General Admission ticket, do you really in right conscious mind hope to see the pitlane? The start? 35% of the track? If you say yes, you would be lying yourself! Now i may be playing smart having watched only one race, but really i don’t know a thing about other Grand Prix’s (wished i did) but where you would have all that with General Admission ticket? When i took the trip, i wished i could see clearly the mid of Sector2 on the chicane, but it turned out to be much much better. And yes, GA ticket, there is a downside of it as with everything else. Ill come to that.

So, you enter the perimeters of Hungaroring and you go behind the main grandstand and at the end of it then on the right through the hill and you get behind one of the main grandstands right on the exit of the last corners and you sit on a grass, with cars not more than 20/30 meters in front of you. Maybe closer maybe not, you can still see the hands of the drivers and their corrections on the steering wheel as they pass by if means anything to you. From that point of view you see whole Sector 3 literally.


This is a panoramic view of where i was. You have the straight, and you can see till the wall ends or where the pit lane ends, you cannot see more than that if you are from this spot where i stood. Then you have two big screens to transfer and see the action of Turn1 and the rest till Sector3 come, to enjoy every action on track. From here you have view over the pitlane although a bit far you can still see the action. You have two fast straights right on the picture in the distance then the last two corners. If rainy, like it happened to be on the qualifying i watched, not certainly always but i assume there will be that water patch on the exit line so usually cars would enter that patch as they exit right on the curbs of the last corner and few almost lost control at 160/170km/h. When Vettel almost lost it in the quals whole crowd was screaming. It was electrifying!

IF i go second time and one offers me a seat for free on the main grand stand or gold i would take it not because i can see more but because i can see things i couldn’t see closer from where i was AND because you don’t have to rush to grab good position. So really it’s not that they can see something that i couldn’t, or any other grandstand, they are just closer to the pitlane and have whole straight finish line, while i have other things they didn’t saw – start of Sector3.

IF you are watching your second, third, fifth, God knows which race, and you don’t want to come as early as in 0800 or 0900 since you had enough of it, and you want to come 2-3 hours before the race, especially the race day when people come on the circuit as early as 0800 then General Admission ticket is not for you!!!

Those with grand stand tickets, to me, seems it’s most probably that they don’t want to bother and want to arrive at 1200 or 1300 and go to watch the race. Like that, you won’t find good spot for the race if you have GA ticket, unless you can be satisfied with small things. I wanted as much as i could from what it was offered for the money i had.

You could take the GA ticket and you could find a spot, you would most probably see the cars closer in Sector 2 than i was in the Sector3, where there are good spots for GA tickets as well, but i don’t guarantee you will see what i am seeing (straight finish line – pitlane – whole sector 3) There were spots as well with GA where you can see the cars much closer if you want that. More precisely the left-right-left-right corners before Sector 3.


Take binoculars if you can, not necessarily

Why or why not General Admission ticket:  
+ General Admission is cheap if money concerned
+ Offers you great if not better view than twice more expensive tickets
+ It can provide you with a 80% of the view those on main grandstand have who pay twice as much as you did
– You need to go for Race Day early in 0800 since people were sleeping on track
-/+ If you want to be sure about your spot and be lucky as i was, you can politely ask a sales man of waters and beers nearby to put blanket on the spot that you desire and make sure he does that on saturda, so you could believe him on sunday as well. No one will push the blanket. They respect that. We bought waters and beers only from him. So he did that for us.

There are positives and negatives sure. Depends what you are after.
That’s why i said it depends on taste, financial situation more or less and how much you want to see F1 race, is it your first or you have had enough of it and you just want to sit there like a gentleman and don’t bother with anything. Like i’ve said, it was my first and i was there as early as possible because i wanted to see EVERYTHING. So getting early wasn’t any problem for me and if i go second time again even. But there are other people who arrived 5 minutes before the start. There is no other logic apart the fact they have seen many races in the past. I haven’t.


Race day 0840

Conclusion: If you go on your first race like i was and you want to see as much as possible like i did and still pay only 90 euros to pass cheaper, forget going on track later than 10 or 11 o’clock OR YOU MIGHT but you would have to walk and walk and probably miss stuff, certainly you could hardly see the start of the race, unless you struggle in the crowd for a better view, position on which you wouldn’t endure for next 5minutes. Raceday? You better find someone to put blanket instead of you or go there as early as in 0700 o’clock to sit on your spot and enjoy the race sitting, calm comfortable and relaxed, unless you are not bothered to walk around the track and have that kind of experience and miss some action on track. And i am talking 0700 to be there, not to jump out of bed at 0700 🙂
Hint: Depends in which part of the city you are in. Me, i was on the end almost of it so within 5 minutes i was out of town, going towards Hungaroring and still i needed at least 15 minutes driving with 60km/h. If you are deep in the center, you can get as early as 0600 o’clock to compensate.

Video of the start

IF you take 200+ euro ticket for the Main grandstand or the Gold, you see only the straight finish line and the Turn 1 where YES most of the action is but cars are flying in front of you and you can only see them for a few seconds BUT you can see the pitlane as well, which is quite good. Unlikely with Turn 1 seats. While i on the contrary i had an eye of one car for more than 35 seconds! Really depends what you desire most! I for one wanted to have a look on the cars as much as possible. Maybe you want something else.

From the experience i had i can tell that one of the most exciting things was when the cars got speed like 300+ but then i couldn’t see them at the end of the straight when they reached their potential, so in a way main grandstand tickets and those in Turn 1 are worth a while but they are expensive and in my opinion not really worth compared with what i had and how much i could see for the price. You get my point.


About getting merchandise don’t bother. There is everything in large quantities!

Advice: If you want to see pitlane action closely and whole straight i assume it is whole – take main grandstand obviously, GA wouldn’t give you that. If you want to see most of the straight and where most of the action is, take Turn 1. If you want to see cars for longer period not necessarily the fastest moving cars, take for the last corner that is on the exit of the corner, not the one on mid corner. You would have you seat reserved and still you would have view on the pitlane and eye on F1 cars for more than 35 seconds.

If you want to meet drivers:

Now i really wished someone told me or at least gave me a HINT where and how i could’ve meet drivers. So, instead i learned on my own and i was lucky enough to take autographs and see everyone LESS THAN 1m of me!

On Thursday, yes, they told me and i read that the pitlane is open for a walk and you could probably meet one driver if walking there, but no one told me they HAVE autograph session always earlier that day or once the entrance is opened , it’s not like you walk down the pitlane and you see them, not one appeared! And it is very unlikely that will because there are lot’s and lot’s and lot’s of people! Seeing F1 driver might occur far from the main garages, such as on the start of the pitlane, where F1 cars enter the box. Going toward the pitlane with no idea what i can see i passed by and saw a glimpse of Sebastian Vettel going somewhere behind and Hamilton before was there as well, people said ‘he hanged on the wall’ but they both now got away. They gave autographs, and i was pissed off that i blew that chance, although i read couple of experiences not one mentioned this, and this wasn’t something that happened randomly. No. They have that session always.

Advice: Another advice is that if you are amazed like i was and you rush for the garages you might miss behind some drivers. So don’t rush. Even if you come first, don’t go in the pitlane toward the garages. But try not to be late like 40 minutes, like i was. They would be most probably gone by then. If among first people the first 10minutes/15minutes stay for at least an hour let’s say on the entrance of the pitlane and wait. You would still have enough time to visit every garage and the Turn 1 in the end within 1 hour. Because someone might appear or there might be autograph session. Like they said – where the Safety Cars were.

So they have autograph session on Thursday and in order to make it eventually you need to arrive earlier that day, like 3-4 hours to be comfort (depends of the crowd which you cannot know how much will be, will there be people or not – if you want to see them make sure you go early enough – park the car and walk 1km towards the entrance), and put yourself on ‘pole-position’ at the entrance. When it’s open run toward the straight! If you are among the first you could most probably find them. I entered the perimeters of Hungaroring (not the track itself) some 30 minutes after the entrance was opened and i was standing on the street before entering because there were so much people ahead of me. And then another 10 minutes till you reach the pitlane entrance, make it 40 minutes. I was very pissed i missed that opportunity. I thought my only other chance to see them the very least was on the drivers track parade.  I was wrong. VERY WRONG.


The Fisherman’s Bastion

Budapest is a lovely city. It is big and there is lot’s of things to be seen. However couple of beautiful things are really above the city with great view, calm, offering peace and time to relax, really. There are lot’s of tourists and very probably they don’t bother with F1 drivers, so, logically it’s most probably the place where you might find one – Fishermens Bastion – which is a building on a hill, located in the western part of the city, across the river. That’s the place were we met Hamilton, or Hamilton met us. Yup, i am not lying 🙂


As i was taking photos of a woman from our group with the beautiful surroundings, focused fully on the camera and the photo on the display i see some black man down in the right corner, with his back at us and a hat. It was night already. I thought he would go away seeing us taking photos, in the fast 3-4 next photos i did i see he is still moving and positioned himself exactly behind this woman and i thought “damn this guy ruined the photo” but i couldn’t see who he was. Then while still looking into the camera the woman says “this guy looks alike Hamilton” on which i immediately put the camera down, saw him, next second i made photo of him and he going step or two backwards with hands on his chest level waving and gesturing towards me ‘no no’ and said: “no no please don’t take photos, delete them please, no one can no i am here!”. He was polite, not arrogant, and defending, not attacking. I answered totally confused “no no sorry” whatever that meant – i already made the photo! The woman seized the moment asking him “one photo for the kids” , so i picture them. “Thank you” she said and he left in the dark streets – without a word, of the old town. Some 10 minutes later as we kept ourselves in the dark, watching him with three friends and two other girls, one woman approached us and said: “no photos please leave” and so we did. I was sad it wasn’t Sebastian Vettel.

Next morning was the qualifying and we went earlier than the day before, as it gets more and more important, same for the race day, even earlier. So we approach the Hungaroring, after parking the car, walking, we see big crowd before qualifying starts. Precisely around 0900 o’clock big crowd was already in place and very fast we realized F1 drivers would come down to give autographs. I was … i was very happy and it felt unreal. I positioned myself in like behind 4-5 guys who were ahead of me. So if you want to take the advantage go earlier. Around 0800 be there for these events, and you would be first there. You could picture yourself with them and so on. Autographs won’t be a problem.

I didn’t knew this and no one told me this. So remember, before qualifying and race day on the track or in it’s surroundings to be more precise there is an event where drivers and team principals and other known engineers come and give autographs. If you want one, don’t miss that! I am sure many people who have gone many times on Grand Prixs knows this, but still whenever i asked one no one told me. And when it happened i was pissed off why no one wrote anywhere so i could be prepared, and i wouldn’t had to push people in front of me to take autographs 🙂 We waited for hour and half for all to come out.

Video of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen 


So that would be probably everything i think you need to know, especially for Hungaroring. And yes, Williams crew were staying in the Hilton Hotel, on 1minute walk from the Fishermans Bastion. I told you, it’s where the chances of seeing F1 people are biggest. So don’t miss it! Advice, go on Friday!

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Adventure of a lifetime

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