For the first time in Formula One history four drivers will go into the final race of the season with a chance of becoming champion.
That is the scenario that has unfolded following today's Brazilian Grand Prix in which Sebastian Vettel claimed victory ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, with Fernando Alonso third and Lewis Hamilton fourth.
Alonso remains favourite as the Ferrari star holds an eight-point cushion over Webber, with Vettel 15 points adrift of the Spaniard and Hamilton 24 points down - and the clear outsider - but not yet out.
Jenson Button, after his drama last night when he was attacked by armed assailants, came home fifth, the Briton effectively handing over his world title on the track where he won it just over a year ago.
Although the drivers' title remains on the line, today was a day of glory for Red Bull as they ultimately got what they came for coming into this race as they are the new constructors' champions.
After the race, team principal Christian Horner exclaimed over the radio to Vettel: "Great drive, we've won the constructors' world championship."
Once the five red lights disappeared it was no surprise to see Nico Hulkenberg relinquish the first pole of his career, and Williams' first for five and a half years, by the end of the first corner.
Vettel, starting alongside the 23-year-old German on the front row of the grid, made an electric start and within seconds had scythed his way into a lead he never relinquished, bar one lap after making his only stop for tyres.
Four corners later and it was Webber's turn to manoeuvre his way past Hulkenberg into second from where he could make no headway on Vettel, not even when safety car was deployed 24 laps from home.
Before the race had started a sweep amongst the media had taken place as to where Hulkenberg would be come the end of the first lap, with the smart money on third, and so it proved.
That was primarily because Hamilton and Alonso were embroiled in their own private battle on the first lap as the Spaniard hounded the Englishman.
As they crossed the line Alonso had his nose in front, only for his former McLaren team-mate to sneak ahead again into the first turn, the Senna S.
But as in Korea a fortnight ago when Hamilton ran wide in the wet to relinquish the lead and the victory to Alonso, in the dry here he again made another mistake that gifted the 29-year-old fourth.
It was not until lap seven that Alonso powered his past Hulkenberg, who then had Hamilton all over him for the next seven laps, but for the 25-year-old there was no way past until the German stopped for new tyres.
As with Vettel and Webber, other than through the pit stops, they remained third and fourth, with Button trailing behind his McLaren team-mate despite another exceptional strategic call from the team.
Button was called in early from his 10th spot at the time, and once all the stops had played out for the majority of the leaders, he had made up five places.
But with the other four title contenders ahead of him on track, so went his crown as he now finds himself 47 points adrift of Alonso.
There was a spot of late drama when Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi ploughed into a tyre wall in the Senna S, resulting in the safety car on lap 51, staying on track for four laps as the debris was cleared.
But even that failed to disrupt the order of the top five, who were 15.5secs apart at the end of the 71 laps, and so we head into the title decider in Abu Dhabi in seven days' time.Reuse content