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.

The bedrock of Schumacher's dominant campaign was two incredible winning streaks. The first, equalling Nigel Mansell's 1992 record (see no. 6), saw him cruise to victory in the opening five rounds of the campaign. After controversially crashing out in an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya behind the Safety Car in Monaco, Schumacher and Ferrari hit a stride unmatched in modern Formula One, reeling off seven straight victories from the N?rburgring to the Hungaroring.

There may have been only three pole positions, four fastest laps and one lights-to-flag victory, but Schumacher was always in position when it mattered, and only in France and Germany did he find a non-Ferrari car within 10 seconds of him at race's end on pure pace. After a close 2003 season, the 2004 campaign evolved into a repetitive parade of unrivalled excellence - with fans turning off in their droves.

The last race of the sequence was the most crushing; a Ferrari 1-2 in Hungary seeing the scarlet machines head the field by nearly a minute, led by Schumacher's Grand Slam pole, fastest lap and lights-to-flag 12th victory from 13 races.

The run was ended in style by R?ikk?nen's phenomenal win at the Belgian GP, but inevitably Schumacher took second place, sealing the world championship before seeing out the remainder of the season on uncharacteristic auto-pilot. Perhaps his wind-down was sympathy for the rest of the field, their heads still in a tailspin after being obliterated by the Red Baron's most irrepressible winning streak.

Jim Clark (6 consecutive wins: 1965 South African GP - German GP)

Many of Formula One's great champions have campaigns of impeccable dominance in their back catalogue, a season where the stars aligned and a driver at their absolute peak used a car with a pure performance margin to demonstrate their supremacy over the field.

For Jim Clark, that season was 1965 at the wheel of Colin Chapman's iconic green and yellow Lotus-Climax 33. His crushingly superlative maiden title in 1963 was more statistically dominant, (although in both seasons he took the maximum 100% of available points due to the scoring system of the day) but his sequence of results that kickstarted the 1965 season was greatness-affirming.

After a dominant win to kickstart the season in South Africa on New Year's Day, Clark skipped the second round in Monaco to enter the Indianapolis 500, ceding the F1 victory and championship advantage to 'Mr. Monaco' Graham Hill in his absence.

Unlike Alberto Ascari's misadventures in the US, Clark's trip Stateside bore fruit, with the Scot and Lotus avenging the disappointment of previous campaigns to lead 190 of the 200 laps and become the first mid-engined and first British victor around the Brickyard.

Returning to Formula One for the Belgian Grand Prix in mid-June, Clark was imperious during a summer campaign writ large across some of automobile racing's most iconic canvases. Spa. Clermont-Ferrand. Silverstone. Zandvoort. The N?rburgring. Three pole positions, four fastest laps and five consecutive victories to add to Clark's season-opening Grand Slam and make it six wins from six races entered.

The final race of the streak in Germany saw Clark beat his summer shadow Graham Hill to the line to take his first win at the 'Ring and seal the title in record time, pipping Alberto Ascari's August 3rd record by just two days.

The next round, in Italy, would see Jackie Stewart snap the streak with his first GP victory in a slipstreaming epic at Monza. Clark's marker for early championship coronation though would last until the Schumacher statistical juggernaut era, whilst the legend of his stunning campaign is enshrined in the annals or Formula One iconography.

Michael Schumacher (6 consecutive wins: 2000 Italian GP - 2001 Malaysian GP)

If his 2004 summer of suppression starved Formula One of the oxygen of competition, Michael Schumacher's four consecutive wins to conclude the 2000 season came at a height of antagonistic tension between the German and his great rival Mika H?kkinen, adding the weighty necessity of a championship battle to the sporting credence of successive victories.

That the sequence extended into the first two races of 2001 was a happy coincidence for Schumacher, but his titanic struggle against H?kkinen to claim his third drivers' title, and Ferrari's first since 1979, formed the backbone of the streak.

It was a sequence borne of necessity, beginning at Monza the race after H?kkinen had so famously passed Schumacher as the pair hit traffic at Spa to seemingly swing the championship momentum inexorably in his favour. After losing out on the title at last-race showdowns in 1997, 1998 and 1999, it was beginning to look as if the Maranello curse would never be lifted.

Schumacher and Ferrari fought back in devastating style though, outpacing H?kkinen for victory at Monza before profiting from the McLaren's retirement at Indianapolis to resume the championship lead. The title-clinching epic at Suzuka was a titanic struggle, but Schumacher again bested H?kkinen to take the chequered flag. Unlike in 2004, Schumacher didn't relax at season's end, delivering victory in the final round of the 2000 season in Malaysia to seal the Constructors' championship for Ferrari - famously celebrating in trademark 'wacky' style by donning red wigs alongside Ross Brawn and Rubens Barrichello on the podium.

2001 delivered a virtually unchallenged title as the Schumacher/Ferrari combination approached their peak invincibility, and the German made the best possible start to the campaign. Consecutive wins from pole position in Australia and Malaysia set the scene, before the sequence ended in Brazil with beautifully bookended symmetry. As at Spa in 2000, Schumacher was famously snookered by a McLaren, this time David Coulthard, while being passed for victory as the wrong side of bread in a backmarker sandwich.

Jack Brabham (5 consecutive wins: 1960 Dutch GP - Portuguese GP)

Many of F1's greatest winning streaks are built on a huge mechanical advantage, either as a result of naturally superior evolution during a period of static rules (Sebastian Vettel 2013, Michael Schumacher 2004, Nigel Mansell 1992), or as a result of a sea-change in regulations that have established a new pecking order (Jenson Button 2009, Michael Schumacher 1994).

Mechanical revolutions in isolation that lead to dominance are less commonplace, with cosmic innovations such as ground effect and turbos taking their time to come to formbook fruition, and other advantageous devices such as rear-facing extractor fans or exhaust blowing diffusers outlawed after their benefits became devastatingly clear.

One such reset that forced the field to follow suit though was rear-mounted engines, first introduced to stunning effect by Jack Brabham and Cooper in 1959, and harnessed to two consecutive titles as the front-engined field was rendered obsolete almost overnight.

Brabham's first title in 1959 combined pure performance with poor reliability, the Australian only sealing the championship at the final round in Sebring. 1960 though was a different matter, Brabham recovering from a gearbox failure in the opening race and disqualification in Monaco to obliterate the opposition through the European summer with five straight victories.

From Zandvoort in June to Porto in August, Brabham was irrepressible, romping to victory in five consecutive races with the winning margin only once less than 45 seconds. The superiority of the rear-engined Cooper Climaxes was never better illustrated than during a 1-2-3 finish at Spa and a 1-2-3-4 domination at Reims.

Brabham inherited the win at Silverstone when Graham Hill uncharacteristically spun out of the lead, before a straightforward cruise to victory in Portugal sealed the Drivers' and Constructors' championships for Brabham and Cooper.

The streak ended abruptly and unsatisfactorily though; a boycott of the Italian GP by the British teams denying Brabham a six-shooter, and ironically, in the face of Cooper's absence, offering up a final victory for a rear-engined car with Phil Hill's maiden win for Ferrari.

Nigel Mansell (5 consecutive wins: 1992 South African - San Marino GP)

Whilst Alberto Ascari's miraculous 1952 and Jim Clark's magical 1965 both saw longer streaks for wins from races entered from the start of the season, their race-skipping adventures at Indianapolis means the record for true consecutive wins from the first race stands at 5 victories, shared between Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Nigel Mansell in 1992.

Ayrton Senna had broken the record for back-to-back wins from the opening round in 1991, rattling off four straight victories to lay the foundations for his third world title. Nigel Mansell and Williams, who had been the class of the field from mid-1991 onwards, took matters one step further with a stunning opening salvo to the 1992 season.

If Schumacher's 2004 was a case of pulverising the opposition by numbers, a slow death inflicted by a statistical stranglehold, Mansell's domination in 1992 was built on the blistering speed of his Adrian Newey-designed Williams FW14B. In Mansell's hands, the car was so far ahead of the field as to render victory inevitable barring unforeseen circumstances.

In South Africa, he qualified seven tenths ahead of the first non-Williams. In Mexico, the gap was a second. In Brazil, Mansell was a full second clear of team-mate Riccardo Patrese in qualifying, and two seconds ahead of Senna in third place. The margins were stunning, and the victories were duly straightforward, with only Patrese capable of running close to Mansell, following him home for one-two finishes in all but one of the five races.

The sixth round of the season was Monaco, where Mansell had never won and Senna had triumphed for three straight seasons. Mansell again dominated the weekend, taking pole by a second and leading the opening 70 laps unchallenged. A slow late pit stop for a suspected puncture dropped Mansell behind the Brazilian however, and despite hounding Senna to the left, right and almost over the top during the closing laps, Mansell had to settle for second place, and the end of his streak, at the chequered flag.

Will Saunders@formulawill



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