GP Hungary: [Video] GP Hungary 1997-the great lost opportunity of the Arrows and Damon Hill


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Five second places were the greatest reward of the team Arrows, born out of a split of the team Shadow in 1978, throughout its quarter century of history. A path of many ups and downs and ownership changes during which not even the presence of important figures such as Ross Brawn or John Barnard was able to join the list of winners.

Were close on a couple of occasions. The first, in Long Beach, in 1981. Riccardo Patrese became surprisingly with the pole position and led the race until, on lap 24, the engine of your A3 began clearing her throat. A step-by-pit, when he had already fallen to the third place, did not solve the problem and ended up abandoning. The frustration of the Italian and the team increased when they discovered that a small piece of plastic that had stuck in the fuel filter had been the cause of the loss of power.

But it is one thing to lose a possible victory elapsed only a third of the race, and quite another to do so with the checkered flag virtually in sight. That happened to Damon Hill in the Hungarian Grand Prix of 1997. The title achieved in 1996 had not been enough for the british to maintain their position in Williams and found accommodation in Arrows, which that season equates a little competitive motor Yamaha. Dropouts and poor results were the tonic until the World came to the Hungaroring.

To the surprise of all, Hill took the third position on the grid. Not even he could explain the whole such a result, beyond declaring that their Bridgestone tyres had surrendered to the perfection of the twisty path magyar. But the thing did not stay there: Hill stood second after the start, ahead of Michael Schumacher on lap 11 and dominated the race until the point that two laps from the end led to Jacques Villeneuve in more than half a minute.

Then, his gearbox got stuck in third and Damon was helpless to contain the attack of Villeneuve, which he broke in the final turn. Even with the car sputtering, the advantage gained allowed him to at least keep the second place. It was an exhibition fleeting: the mediocrity came back from the next race, and Arrows would never go back to the podium in the five years left before its demise in 2002.