After the dullness of the Spanish Grand Prix, Formula One burst into life again within seconds in Montreal.
The finish was as strange as the start with Mika Hakkinen leading the remainder of a decimated field past the chequered flag under a yellow flag after Heinz-Harald Frentzen had crashed on the 65th of the 69-lap race.
Second was Giancarlo Fisichella with Eddie Irvine third after storming his way back into the points following a collision with David Coulthard on Lap 40.
At the start, pole-winner Michael Schumacher shot across the bows of Hakkinen to hold the lead going into the first corner.
Behind the leaders Jarno Trulli's Prost slid across the grass ploughing into Jean Alesi's Sauber and Rubens Barrichello's Stewart. The safety car was brought out.
While it was out Ricardo Zonta crashed into the barriers at the final corner. He was the first of four drivers to come to grief at the spot.
Others that followed Brazilian into retirement there were Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher, who crashed on Lap 30 while leading the race.
By the time the race restarted (Lap 7), Alesi, Trulli, Zonta and Wurz had all retired.
Schumacher and Hakkinen immediately returned to their battle for first, with the Ferrari driver setting a fastest time on Lap 10, and Hakkinen replying three laps later.
The duel continued until Schumacher came to grief at the barriers before the home straight and Hakkinen was handed the lead.
When Villeneuve slammed into the same barriers four laps later, the safety car was brought out for the second time, allowing drivers to pit.
Coulthard was one of those that came in, but was later given a 10-second stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Alex Zanardi received the same penalty for overtaking the pace car.
On Lap 40, the race started again and immediately Irvine and Coulthard were at each other's throats. While overtaking the McLaren, Irvine pulled straight in front, the two cars touched and went off the track.
Both rejoined, but Irvine had the advantage, and from this moment on he powered his way up the field, again nearly coming to grief when he overtook Johnny Herbert.
But, the Irishman looked determined to earn as many points as possible from the race, and he began to lap quicker than the race leader, Hakkinen. He set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 60 with a time of 1:20.674.
He was some eight seconds behind Fisichella in second when Frentzen crashed with four laps remaining, and it looked as though a dramatic finish to the race would develop as the drivers began to bunch behind the safety car.
But, the pace car was to remain on the circuit until the 69th and final lap, giving Hakkinen his third, and most bizarre, win of the season.
Fisichella finished an impressive second, with Irvine third. The other points' winners were Ralf Schumacher, Herbert and Diniz.
Final race positions from the Canadian Grand Prix
P de la Rosa