F1 fans could barely believe their eyes as the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix descended into chaos on Monday morning.
The title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton took some ugly turns as Red Bull and Mercedes accused each other of dodgy driving and questionable tactics in the wildest race of the year.
Hamilton won the dramatic rollercoaster ride, Verstappen came second in controversial fashion and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the podium. Esteban Ocon was fourth, while Aussie Daniel Ricciardo avoided the carnage to cross the line fifth.
The incredible result means Hamilton and Verstappen are all square in the drivers' standings on 369.5 points heading into the season finale in Abu Dhabi later this month, where a world champion will be crowned.
'Absolute chaos': Huge drama in title fight
There was plenty of drama in the early stages of a 50-lap race that took two hours and 12 minutes to finish, but the height of it arrived on lap 37, when Hamilton tried to use DRS to pass Verstappen.
The pair were fighting wheel-to-wheel but the seven-time world champion couldn't get past as they made slight contact. Verstappen's defending was ruled to have been illegal and he was ordered to let Hamilton through.
However, the Dutch driver hit the brakes, slowed down and Hamilton ran into the back of his biggest rival, damaging his front wing.
"He just brake tested me!" Hamilton fumed. "I don't know what's going on.
"This guy is crazy man!
"It was just dangerous driving dude."
Social media erupted as some accused Verstappen of driving dangerously, while others suggested there was a misunderstanding and Mercedes didn't realise Red Bull had been ordered to let Hamilton past.
Ron Meadows from the Mercedes garage engaged in a heated argument with FIA race director Michael Masi over the radio, saying they weren't told Verstappen had been instructed to let Hamilton overtake.
F1 journalist Luke Smith tweeted: "Nah, that's not good man … Jesus, this title fight is getting ugly."
MMA reporter Chamatkar Sandhu tweeted: "OMGGGGGGG! Absolute chaos between Lewis and Max. Wow."
With seven laps to go, Hamilton took the lead and Verstappen was slapped with a five-second time penalty.
Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle said things went too far at Jeddah. "This is absolutely crazy. It's kind of like we're making it up as we go along," he said.
"But it's so many unusual situations.
"It has been a dirty race in terms of tactics.
"There is aggressive, determined, feisty racing and then there is what we saw this evening — which was too much."
After the race, Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Verstappen he had no idea why Hamilton crashed into him when he was trying to let the Mercedes star overtake.
"I don't know why he ran up the back of you like that, it makes no sense at all," Horner said.
Verstappen and Hamilton both answered questions in their post-race TV interviews about the controversial contact in the dying stages.
Verstappen said: "It was eventful, a lot of things happened that I don't fully agree with but it is what it is.
"I slowed down, I wanted to let him by, I was on the right but he didn't want to overtake and we touched. I don't really understand what happened there."
Hamilton added: "I didn't understand why he hit the brakes quite heavily.
"I didn't understand ... then I got a message later on he was going to let us pass, so it was a bit confusing."
Ominous start sets the scene for carnage
Starting third on the grid, Verstappen took the lead when Hamilton and Bottas pitted under the safety car, following Mick Schumacher's crash on lap 10. But Red Bull was soon fuming, accusing Bottas of intentionally driving slowly under the caution period when in front of Verstappen, so Mercedes could double-stack its pitstops.
"Valtteri is driving massively off the pace. That shouldn't be allowed!" Max said over team radio.
Horner shared his star's pain, swearing over the radio while Brundle added of Bottas' go-slow tactics: "It's absolutely not allowed — you can't do that."
Soon after it was Hamilton who was filthy when the race was red-flagged and temporarily suspended as officials performed repairs to the barriers where Schumacher lost control. This gave Verstappen a free pit-stop where he was able to change tyres onto the medium compounds without losing any time as all the drivers headed back to the pits.
"This has played right into Red Bull and Verstappen's hands," Sky Sports commentator David Croft said.
"Verstappen hasn't been given a cheap pit-stop, he's been given a free one.
"This now becomes very controversial and we've had it before. Should you be allowed to change tyres during the red flag unless your tyres are damaged in some way? This has absolutely played into Red Bull's hands tonight."
Hamilton couldn't believe the red flag was brought out.
"Why is it a red flag?" Hamilton said on the radio. "The tyre wall (where Schumacher crashed) looks fine.
"Find out what the reason for the red flag is.
"It's unbelievable, man."
Fans stunned after dramatic restart
The race was stopped for about 15 minutes before recommencing with a dramatic standing start that saw even more chaos.
Starting behind Verstappen, Hamilton shot ahead of his title rival before the Red Bull regained the lead — but questions were asked if the young gun overtook the Brit off the track, which isn't allowed.
"I had to avoid a collision there," Hamilton said. "He cut across the whole kerb. He just overtook me outside the white line."
In commentary, Brundle said it wasn't a fair overtake.
Meanwhile, there was carnage behind the frontrunners. Sergio Perez was tagged by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, Nikita Mazepin crashed out and George Russell lost his front wing as mayhem erupted on the track.
It meant the red flag was brought out for a second time and once again, the race was halted.
Race control deemed Verstappen's overtake of Hamilton was illegal and the F1 world was stunned as Masi negotiated a penalty with Red Bull.
"I'm going to give you the opportunity to start from grid position two, based on what occurred at (turns) 1-2," Masi said.
"You'd be back behind Lewis. That is my offer."
Remarkably, it was decided Ocon would restart on pole, ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen. Nobody could understand why Masi was offering to negotiate a punishment with Red Bull, rather than just telling the team what the consequence of Verstappen's illegal overtake was.
Keep in mind, this was all happening just 15 laps into the race.
BBC F1 writer Andrew Benson tweeted: "Struggling to understand when it became OK for teams to negotiate with the FIA as to what penalty they get for a misdemeanour."
Brundle said: "It's quite unusual isn't it to have a bid of, 'We'll offer you this. Do you want to take it or not?'"
More mayhem as Max makes his move
The race "started" for the third time and there was more mayhem. Verstappen, in third, dived down the inside to take the lead as he, Hamilton and Ocon entered the first corner neck-and-neck.
Ocon was forced wide and went off the track then was soon overtaken by Hamilton, who climbed back into second.
Yuki Tsunoda crashed into the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel, bringing out the yellow flags and a virtual safety car 25 laps into the race.
From there, it was all about Hamilton and Verstappen as the closest title race we've seen in years captured everyone's attention.
Saudi Arabian GP results: Top 10
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
4) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
5) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
6) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
7) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
8) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
9) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
10) Lando Norris, McLaren