Spain´s Fernando Alonso won the European Grand Prix as chaos engulfed the Nurburgring.
Alonso's third win of the season leaves him just two points behind McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton in the overall drivers' standings.
The Spaniard made the most of his opportunity when torrential rain and car failures combined to leave him in a straight fight with Ferrari's Felipe Massa.
Alonso passed Massa superbly in the closing stages to win by eight seconds from the Brazilian, Australian Mark Webber was third for Red Bull Racing.
Massa's teammate Kimi Raikkonen started from pole position but his poor record on the German circuit continued as he was forced to retire after 34 laps.
It was also a tough weekend for leader Hamilton who finished ninth.
A bad crash in qualifying left Hamilton starting from tenth on the grid and his record run of nine podium finishes in nine races was always likely to end after he spun off the track early on.
Hamilton's Mclaren was eventually lifted back onto the track by a crane but the rookie rejoined the race at the back of the field, a lap behind and with too much ground to make up.
Alex Wurz of Williams was fourth ahead of Red Bull's David Coulthard in fifth with Nick Heidfeld sixth for BMW.
The final point-scorers were Heidfeld's teammate Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen of Renault who were seventh and eighth respectively.
The race started in a sprinkling of rain, Massa darted past Alonso into second place while Kubica and Heidfeld collided just behind.
Heidfeld, the German racing in front of his home crowd, came off worse and had to go into the pits for extensive repairs.
Then the heavens opened. Track conditions quickly became treacherous and the need for wet weather tyres became obvious.
All the cars had to crowd into the pitlane except for debutant Markus Winkelhock of the Spyker team.
The 27-year-old German had made an instant decision when the rain began and headed into the pits as the race started.
Incredibly, as all kinds of havoc broke out around him, Winkelhock found himself in the lead by over 30 seconds.
The deluge was so torrential that even the wet tyres could not provide sufficient grip.