30 October 2013
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Six of the Best: Winning Streaks
Ahead of the Abu Dhabu Grand Prix this weekend at the Yas Marina circuit, Crash.net columnist Will Saunders looks at winning streaks in his latest 'Six of the Best' feature...
With Sebastian Vettel's seemingly interminable winning streak extending into the upper stratosphere of all-time glory runs after his sixth successive victory at the Indian Grand prix, Crash.net explores some of Formula One's previous best adventures in monopolised monotony.
Alberto Ascari (9 consecutive wins: 1952 Belgian GP – 1953 Belgian GP)
Most of Grand Prix racing's individual records belong to the modern age. Gilded sequences of longevity and success as measured by wins, poles and points have all been consecrated in the era of global expansion, multiple races and improved reliability.
However, Formula One's most remarkable winning streak belongs to its formative days; one of the sport's greatest champions dominating the field in the fledgling formula in a manner unmatched through the sport's evolution.
With Alfa Romeo, who had pipped Ferrari to the title in 1950 and 1951, withdrawing from the competition for 1952, the Prancing Horse enjoyed an effective monopoly. So narrow was the field that the championship was run to Formula 2 regulations, and the leading F1 marque duly dominated the series.
The chief beneficiary of this supremacy was Albrerto Ascari, the Ferrari team leader who had finished runner-up to Juan Manuel Fangio's Alfa Romeo in the 1951 championship. With Fangio enduring an enforced sabbatical, Ascari's path to domination was unchallenged.
However, Ascari failed to win either of the first two races of the season, missing the curtain-raising Swiss GP to lead Ferrari's sole attempt at the Indianapolis 500. The Scuderia failed to make an impression in the States, but they and Ascari left an indelible mark on the rest of the season, winning each of the remaining six races across a 12 week golden summer to annihilate the opposition.
The sequence continued through into 1953, despite the return of Fangio at the wheel of a Maserati. Ascari won the Argentine, Dutch and Belgian GPs, skipping Indianapolis between Buenos Aires and Zandvoort. Ascari was finally bested by team-mate Mike Hawthorn at the French GP in an all-time classic, finishing at the tail of a four-man sprint to the finish.
To this day, Ascari remains Italy's last world champion, and the sole home title-winner for Ferrari. Whilst debate has raged about whether his wins can be counted as truly 'consecutive' due to missing the 1953 Indy 500, what can't be doubted is that Ascari was unbeaten in nine consecutive Grands Prix that he entered for a full calendar year, and produced a sequence of domination unlikely to ever be matched.
Michael Schumacher (7 consecutive wins: 2004 European GP – Hungarian GP)
Michael Schumacher's 2004 season stands as one of the most ludicrously dominant campaigns in Formula One or any other sport. His 2002 cakewalk may have been more metronomically consistent, but 2004 was a crushing display of supremacy; the effervescent speed of the Prancing Horse F2004 allied to the Teutonic precision of latter-peak-era Schumacher to deliver a record 13 victories en route to Schumi's seventh heaven.
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