The latest (and possibly decisive) twist in this topsy-turvy world championship saw Fernando Alonso take a Japanese Grand Prix victory nobody would have realistically predicted prior to the race.
Alonso's win puts him 10 championship points ahead of Michael Schumacher, meaning the Spaniard simply needs a top eight finish in Brazil to ensure that he becomes the eighth driver in history to record back-to-back title successes - joining the illustrious list of Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. Alonso scored the 15th win of his career, but the first since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June.
'Fernando Alonso' and 'Michael Schumacher' © XPB/LAT
If he didn't look too guilty about capitalizing on Schumacher's misfortune, he had good reason - Alonso lost a probable race win in Hungary because of a mechanical failure, and he somehow let a win slip through his fingers in Shanghai last weekend, despite being the fastest man on the race track for 26 of the 56 laps - compared to just 6 for his German rival.
Ferrari haven't lost an engine in a race since Rubens Barrichello's failure at the 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix, while Schumacher himself hadn't had a race blow-up since the 2000 French Grand Prix, a run of 112 starts.