This weekend Nico Rosberg has an incredible chance to win six Formula One races on the bounce. The German has displayed incredible consistency since Mexico last year and with team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffering a five place grid drop for China he won’t want to waste the chance to further cement his place in a rather illustrious list.
Michael Schumacher began the second-best winning streak of his career with an emotionally charged victory in Monza back in 2000. It saw him match Ayrton Senna’s career record of 41 wins and set him off on course for title number three, his first with Ferrari.
He remained unbeaten for the rest of 2000. 2001 saw the domination continue with wins in Australia and a spectacular comeback from a pit stop blunder in Malaysia. Sadly for Schumi, he couldn’t make it a super seven after David Coulthard got the better of him in the wet around Interlagos.
Just two men have achieved seven wins in a row and on both occasions they drove for Ferrari. Only one of those two did it in one season alone though.
Alberto Ascari was the first all the way back in 1953. His run began in 1952, with a win in Belgium round a fearsome Spa Francorchamps track. Incredibly, Ascari won every F1 race he entered in 1952, something almost unthinkable in the modern era.
There were, of course, less races a year in the early years, but with reliability being notoriously bad in the 1950s the run isn’t any less impressive than those achieved now. A non-entry to the then World Championship race Indy 500 saw Ascari’s winning run end with a bit of a whimper.
Fifty-one years later Michael Schumacher matched Ascari’s record with a streak of seven wins in the middle of the 2004 season. Ferrari had handed Schumacher an absolute monster of a car that year, and he’d already had a run of five in a row earlier in the season. A blip in Monaco was all that prevented him from making it thirteen wins on the trot.
As it was he didn’t lose a race from Europe to Hungary. It ensured he sealed his seventh and last title with ease in the Belgian race by finishing second, breaking the then record-equalling streak.
The most astonishing thing about Sebastian Vettel’s fourth world title was just how easy he made it look in the second half of the year. Nine straight wins from Belgium to Brazil left no other driver with a chance of catching the German’s Red Bull.
You could have forgiven Vettel for getting rather bored of champagne by the time he took to the top step in Interlagos. His glorious run ended with a rather sad Renault whimper in Australia 2014.
Rosberg has also been handed a shot at the record for most consecutive wins from the first race of the season. Currently Nigel Mansell (1992) and Michael Schumacher (2004) share the record with five wins. A win in China would see Rosberg leap to sixth on that list tied with Schumacher (2000) and Damon Hill (1996) with three.
Time will tell if Rosberg can emulate or even eclipse the legends ahead of him. Perhaps in Monaco on May 29th we’ll see Nico celebrate his perfect ten.