Ferrari's Fernando Alonso grabbed arguably the most stunning victory of his Formula One career on a day of high-drama in the European Grand Prix.
From 11th on the grid a combination of brilliant driving and good fortune enabled Alonso to clinch his 19th F1 win, this in front of his adoring Spanish fans. Alonso was followed home by Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, with Michael Schumacher remarkably on the podium for the first time since he stepped out of retirement two-and-a-half years ago for Mercedes.
It has allowed Alonso to make a decisive move in the championship as he leads by 20 points from Red Bull's Mark Webber as two of his biggest rivals in Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel both failed to finish.
For 28 laps Vettel was out ahead up front, but one bump of the wheels involving Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen and the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne turned the race on its head. It resulted in a front-left puncture for Kovalainen and a rear-right for Vergne which left debris all over the track. With rubber and carbon fibre everywhere it forced the safety car into play.
However, with a 20-second cushion over Lotus' Romain Grosjean such was the German's dominance he had enough time in hand to wait for a lap and still emerge out in front. When the safety car pitted after 33 laps Vettel again eased away, but just for one-and-a-half laps as he ground to a halt, enduring only a second retirement in his last 29 races.
At one point, with Vettel away and clear, sixth to 14th were covered by six seconds and it was akin to watching dodgems as they weaved their way around the track, but Vergne's misdemeanour changed everything, not least for Hamilton as a furious round of pit stops ensued with the safety car on track.
McLaren have made countless errors that have cost the 27-year-old this season, and on this occasion a front jack failure added to his woes, although there was worse to come later. With Vettel out it left Lotus' Romain Grosjean to chase Alonso for the lead, but an alternator issue resulted in his race being run after 40 laps.
That elevated Hamilton into second, but with Raikkonen on his tail as he tyres fell off a cliff in the dying stages and the Finn eased up to second on lap 55, leaving Hamilton clinging onto a podium as he fought with Williams's Pastor Maldonado. On the penultimate lap Maldonado crashed into the side of Hamilton, forcing him out of the race.
Behind a joyous Schumacher, Webber grabbed fourth after starting 19th, the Australian followed by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg passed Paul di Resta in his Force India on the final lap to finish sixth, with McLaren's Jenson Button eighth, followed by Sauber's Sergio Perez and Maldonado.
The stewards, however, are investigating the Hamilton/Maldonado incident, with the Venezuelan seemingly at fault after coming from off the track to attack the 27-year-old.