As it turned out, Alonso stopped but two laps ahead of Raikkonen, with Webber coming in at the same time as the Renault. There may have been a difference in qualifying fuel loads, but it was only to the tune of two laps, and Alonso had enough of an advantage to resume his position at the front of the field once the McLaren had stopped, despite a faltering getaway that threatened to ruin his early good work.
As usual, the Hungaroring had managed to produce a train of cars snaking around its more sinuous elements in the early stages, and the pit-stops therefore presented the first real opportunity to shake-up the order again. This time, the Williams crew proved to be the most adept, gaining Montoya several places, most crucially putting him ahead of championship leader Michael Schumacher. The pair stopped a lap apart but, when the German rejoined, he had to filter in behind his Colombian nemesis, setting the tone for his afternoon.
The track had been reworked over the winter in an effort to rid itself of the tag of 'an eastern Monaco', and one driver in particular found the new first corner to his liking when it came to nailing passing opportunities. Having all but thrown away his hopes of winning the race with his turn two spin, Schumacher Jr was now on a charge and, having dispensed with the backmarkers in double-quick fashion, was almost back up with his brother by the time their respective teams called them in for fuel and tyres.
If Alonso's progress at the front of the field was supreme, the Renault team would have had their hearts close to their mouths as lap twenty dawned. Although the Spaniard had gone through, now back in front after the first round of stops, an incident in turn one threatened to bring out the safety car, thereby negating the time advantage he had built up.
Barrichello, now back in fifth place after the stops had unravelled, was fending off Alonso's team-mate when his left rear corner exploded in a shower of twisted metal. What at first appeared to be a suspension breakage later transmuted into a possible transmission failure, as parts flew from under the bodywork. Its left rear wheel detached and making its own way into the now reduced run-off area, Barrichello was little more than a passenger as the Ferrari snaked, speed unabated, into the tyre wall. As with Ralph Firman on Saturday morning, it was a testimony to the strength of the modern F1 car that the Brazilian was able to step out unhurt.
Remarkably, the stewards decided that the safety car would not
be necessary to help with the clean-up operation, and Alonso was able to continue romping away from the field. By the time of his second stop on lap 30, the Spaniard had re-established his 25secs margin over Raikkonen, who had passed Webber during the first round of stops, and was able to rejoin the race in front of the Finn.
With the leading trio spread out, attention began to focus on the scrap for fourth, where Trulli, unaffected by Barrichello's exit, was having to fend off Montoya. In the Colombian's mirrors, meanwhile, the Schumacher brothers were also enjoying a set-to - a battle that was eventually settled when a fired up Ralf finally put the move on Michael that his critics had predicted would never come.
Perhaps pre-occupied with the move Montoya was attempting to put on Trulli ahead of him, the world champion seemed momentarily oblivious to the fact that his brother was shaping up to the inside of the Ferrari entering turn one. Perhaps Michael, too, hadn't expected 'l'il bro' to make a move, but Ralf was so intent on recovering lost ground that Williams passed Ferrari cleanly, setting him up for a potential showdown with team-mate Montoya.
Trulli's second stop on lap 32 freed the Williams duo to try and open out a sufficient gap so that they would not be trapped behind the second Renault in the final half of the race, and the pair's determination was all to evident as Ralf chopped across the bows of a rejoining Raikkonen a lap later. When the German himself pitted, his hard work paid off, as he filtered back in between Webber and Trulli, but any hope he had of overhauling his Colombian partner was scuppered by Baumgartner, who held the Williams up for a couple of corners on its out lap. Montoya stopped at the end of the next lap, and was able to rejoin not only ahead of Schumacher, but also in front of Webber's stubborn Jaguar. To make matters worse for Schumacher, Baumgartner's engine expired at the same time....
The German quickly closed in on Webber, but the Jaguar driver proved to be a stern opponent, fending off the Williams for several laps before Schumacher finally made a move stick into his favourite first corner passing spot.