Michael Schumacher turned in a virtuoso display at the US Grand Prix to put himself on the brink of winning a record sixth world title.
US GRAND PRIX
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
2 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
3 HH Frentzen (Sauber)
4 J Trulli (Renault)
5 N Heidfeld (Sauber)
6 JP Montoya (Williams)
7 G Fisichella (Jordan)
8 J Wilson (Jaguar)
Ferrari's defending champion adapted best to treacherous weather conditions, which fluctuated between sunshine and heavy rain at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
And his stunning victory, assisted at crucial times by the superior performance of Bridgestone's wet weather tyres, means that just one point at next month's Japan Grand Prix will assure him of the drivers' title.
Finland's Kimi Raikkonen is now the only man who can stop Schumacher, having battled back bravely to finish second.
But the high hopes of Juan Pablo Montoya floundered after a controversial incident involving Schumacher's Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen took advantage of his Bridgestone tyres to take the third podium position.
The three championship chasers made contrasting starts.
Pole setter Raikkonen got away smoothly, while Schumacher found a sensational turn of speed to blaze into fourth place.
But Montoya lost ground from the second row, caught up behind the slow-starting Barrichello.
Crucially, those two drivers had a coming together on lap three.
Barrichello was forced into the gravel and out of the race as Montoya surged past.
But the Colombian was soon made to pay for his part in the incident when race stewards handed him a disputed drive-through penalty, which cost him momentum and time.
Sporadic bursts of heavy rain played havoc with team tyre selections throughout.
Montoya can no longer win title
Even Ferrari's tactical wizard Ross Brawn was culpable, calling Schumacher into the pits twice within the space of three laps.
As confusion reigned, the lead changed hands several times before the unlikely figure of Jenson Button established a solid margin.
By then though, Schumacher was comfortable in the grip of Bridgestone's superior tyres.
And he set about wrapping up the drivers' title with alarming speed.
Montoya effectively surrendered his ambitions on lap 28, when he was powlerless to stop the German from lapping him.
And, as Raikkonen consolidated his position on a drying track, Schumacher raced up the running order, seizing the lead from Button ten laps later.
From that point on, the destiny of the race and of the championship looked beyond much doubt.
And although Raikkonen fought back into second spot to extend the title race to Japan, few would bet against Schumacher claiming yet another massive career milestone.
"When I stopped it was too dry to go to wet tyres," said Schumacher afterwards.
"It was a gamble and when I came in I was wondering whether we should change our decision.
"We went back on dry tyres, but came in straight away and then had unbelievable tyres for the conditions which would give us victory."