Sometimes called Monaco without the barriers, it’s no secret the Budapest circuit is light on wheel-to-wheel racing. What Hungary lacks in overtaking though it makes up for by being an all-around great place to watch F1. The Hungaroring is set in a natural ‘bowl’ making for some excellent views of much of the track from its grandstands.
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There’s a lot to love about watching F1 at the Hungaroring but perhaps best of all is that the best grandstands are not always the most expensive, making what is already a low priced venue even more appealing.
The grid starts quite far back in Hungary so cars line up in front of Gold 1 and Gold 2 grandstands giving fans here the best view of the start. The view of the grid is shared between the two grandstands with roughly the first half of the pack in front of Gold 1 and Gold 2 enjoying views of the lower half. Super Gold Grandstand is opposite the team garages and enjoys the best views of the pit stops.
Gold 1 edges out it’s neighbor by being opposite the top spots on the grid which is also the scene of the post qualifying interviews.
The fun doesn’t stop there – fans in these seats are opposite the podium, parc ferme and the top teams garages are visible just off to the left of the grandstand.
In the other direction and at a distance the straight that connects turns 11 and 12 can be seen.
Gold 2 is another great choice but feels like a bit of a compromise between the best views of the grid and podium represented by Gold 1 and the better views of the final sector available in Silver 1 and 2 and the Red Bull stand.
At a track where fans have been known to be baked to a crisp by midday and the rain when it comes is often biblical, Super Gold Grandstand is favoured by many for the added comfort that this, the only Budapest grandstand with a roof, offers.
For the brave those extra perks might not mean much but don’t count the grandstand out just yet. Being the main grandstand at the Hungaroring, Super Gold also occupies a prime location in the heart of the pit straight.
That means it’s ideally placed for a glimpse of the frantic team garages, pitstops. It’s important to point out though that Super Gold does not overlook the grid or the podium – really only fans in the right hand section of the stand have a good view of these – so if you’re keen to see the teams preparing before the race, see Gold 1 and 2.
In case you’re wondering, seats higher up might (top four rows) do give you a glimpse of some sections of the track behind the pit building, but it not much.
Super Gold is right next to the F1 fanzone and main food and beverage area meaning you won’t have to be gone from your seat for long to order another langos.
Bonus tip: Even with the roof you should still bring sun screen – some seats at the edges of the stand may not be completely covered all day.
It’s no coincidence that of the memorable moments at the Hungaroring since 1986, most of them have been right here at turn 1, in front of the Gold 3 and Gold 4 Grandstands.
Given the difficulty in overtaking at the twisty, ‘dirty’ Budapest circuit, the fact that turn 1 is a place where it’s possible to make a move means that it is the place where the vast majority of passes take place.
The elevation of these stand means it allows spectators to see cars on both the approach and the exit of the corner meaning you should comfortably see most changes of position.
It’s easy to see why this vantage point is so popular and anyone arguing that these are the best seats at the Hungaroring would have a solid case.
There’s not much to choose between Gold 3 and 4. Gold 4, closer to the apex of turn 1 is slightly better for a chance to see some late braking dive bombs and is generally better for photo opportunities (2nd and 3rd blocks from the corner especially).
The main drawback is the view up the main straight is curtailed by the angle and gradient of the track and fans here won’t have much of a view of the approach.
Gold 3 has a better view up the start / finish straight so you have a longer view of the approach to turn 1 albeit a slightly less appealing view of the corner itself.
Gold 3 Grandstand is also the only grandstand at the track that caters to wheelchair users. For fans with disabilities there is a spacious platform on the uppermost row of the grandstand with accompanying seats for a companion.
Bronze are the lowest cost grandstands at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Located at the furthest point from the F1 Fan Zone they can feel a little isolated, with not much to do between track sessions but sit and watch the grass grow.
There are food and drinks stalls but that’s about it. On the plus side there are plenty of general admission areas nearby so you are ideally placed to explore the circuit’s many twists and turns when you feel like a change of scenery.
Bronze 1 overlooks the chicane of turns 6 and 7. Not a place you’d expect to see overtakes but then that’s par for the course in Budapest.
This is the better of the Bronze grandstands though so if you’re looking for the grandstand experience on a budget this is the best choice.
At the exit of turn 5, Bronze 2 is no better a vantage point to watch the race than many of the general admission areas nearby.
At a cost only slightly more than a general admission ticket, for some it will be worth it to have a reserved seat, letting you come and go as you please and always have somewhere to return to when the Hungaroring heat is too much to bear.
Not so much a Grandstand as a Blandstand, Silver 5 has little to recommend it. Fans here overlook a short straight between turns 11 and 12 with a more distant view of the following sequence of corners.
Shorter queues for the bar in this part of the circuit aside, most would be better off considering better seats elsewhere.
The final corner at the Hungaroring is a crucial one. The long, drawn out right-hander sees drivers on the edge of grip, sometimes trying different lines to gain an advantage and get the best quali lap or have a chance of overtaking into turn 1.
Silver 3 and Silver 6 Grandstands hug the corner and are ideally placed to see this unfold. They lack the broader, multiple corner view of some of their neighboring stands but nonetheless are well placed. Looking to the left the main straight is clearly visible.
Arguably the most impressive views in Budapest are in fact not from the more expensive ‘Gold’ grandstands but from a number of the mid-priced grandstands that border the tail end of the start / finish straight.
These grandstands peer out over the final sector of the lap; the short straight that connects turn 11 and 12 and precedes a twisty, multiple corner section of the track, leading to the main straight.
Yes, you’ll have to settle for a more distant view of the grid, pitstops and podium than what Gold grandstands offer and the chances of seeing even one overtake is slim.
But when you’re sat watching as a field of F1 cars snake towards you and struggle for grip around the final turn before roaring off to start another lap leaving you comfortably deaf; none of that will matter.
A row of grandstands all neighboring each other along the main straight, there’s not much to distinguish one as a clear winner. They are all good options and if you don’t like the sound of the elevated Silver 4 and want to be closer to the track these are the best choice.
Choose a seat in Silver 1 for the closest position to the grid, pit and podium area or the Red Bull Grandstand to be nearer the corner and get the best photos of the cars at lower speeds.
Top tap tip: Between the Red Bull stand and the Silver 4 stand there is a water tap that can be used for refilling drinks bottles.
Situated on elevated terrain behind the Red Bull stand there is no other grandstand that is as high up, giving Silver 4 the widest possible field of view.
As well as the scene of the already impressive multiple corner splendor of the final sector, fans sat here can see even further, getting a distant glimpse of parts of sector 2.
For being close to the action there are of course better seats. Even the lower rows are too far from the track for some, hard to see timing information on the not giant enough giant screen being a common issue.
But for the sheer breadth of what can be seen from here it’s unbeatable. Bring a pair of binoculars and the absence of a deafening roar will be the only giveaway that you you don’t have your nose pressed against the catch-fencing.
General admission offers great value with a good choice of views around the circuit, though none that can match most of the grandstand views.
On the Friday and Saturday its well worth taking a stroll around other parts of the track. You can walk from about turn 6 to turn 13 with some great opportunities for photos on the hill between turns 9 and 10.
For the race, arrive early and reserve yourself a good spot near the stands on the main straight. You’ll see the cars on the grid, a good chunk of track covering several corners and with a bit of luck there will be a giant screen in sight. Come the end of the race you’re well placed to join the track invasion under the podium.
I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 30 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.