FERRARI'S Michael Schumacher yesterday overcame torrential rain and calamity in the pits to become the only man alive to win six races in a row.

Only the late Italian Alberto Ascari stands ahead of him, winning nine consecutive races in 1952-53.

Schumacher also boasts 33 poll positions and 46 wins in his stunning career, the greatest number of fastest laps and the most kilometers at the head of the field.

It was Ferrari's 50th one-two finish. But yesterday's victory in Malaysia didn't come easily in a race even the cool-headed German described as "exciting" and "dangerous".

After making a quick getaway, he stunned the crowd by aquaplaning into the gravel during a storm, missing the barrier by inches.

A chaotic 15 minutes followed with cars spinning off all over the circuit, including Schumacher's teammate, second-placed Rubens Barrichello, and McLaren driver David Coulthard.

It was bedlam as the surviving drivers made a run for the pits to change their dry tyres for wets. Both Ferraris ended up in the pits at the same time, Schumacher queuing for attention behind Barrichello. Schumacher waved in frustration at the comedy of errors unfolding before him.

His teammate was about to set off when he realised the front right had been fitted with a dry weather tyre instead of an intermediate, better suited to the soaked track.

The Brazilian was then left with three wheels on his wagon as the team ran back and forth trying to locate a fourth wet tyre. Schumacher later said he thought Barrichello had stalled and he was waving to get them to push the stricken Ferrari out of the way so he could change tyres.

"I thought his engine was off," Schumacher said. "I didn't see the front tyre wasn't changed. We were lucky we didn't get lapped by the safety car.

"Conditions were atrocious, undrivable. I cannot say it was enjoyable. It was kind of dangerous."

Barrichello said they had both been lucky, adding: "I ran off the track three or four times. The cars are very robust but they are not off-road cars."

David Coulthard managed to put McLaren on the podium, despite spinning. Poor qualifying saw him placed eighth on the grid but after a good start and the downpour he found himself in pole position behind the safety car three laps later.

Teammate Mika Hakkinen slipped down the field after a poor start but fought his way back to finish sixth, picking up a single point, his first this year.

Both McLarens were embarrassed on the track. The Ferraris sailed past Coulthard, and Hakkinen was outpaced on one straight by the Arrows of Jos Verstappen.

"It's quite clear to everyone that they are the class of the field at the moment and we have a lot of work to do to catch up," said Coulthard.

The result leaves Schumacher leading the championship with the maximum 20 points. Barrichello is joint second with Coulthard with ten points.