McLaren may not ultimately be a factor in the championship battle, but for the first time since 2012 a McLaren driver, as in Daniel Ricciardo, has won a grand prix, while his teammate Lando Norris made it a McLaren 1-2 in the Italian GP.
That race was expected to result in a relatively easy victory for championship leader Max Verstappen, given he was starting on pole.
Lewis Hamilton said prior to the race he expected as much, but that prediction all changed when he and Verstappen had their second major collision of the season at the first corner after the first round of pitstops. It could be another season-defining moment, just like Silverstone was when Hamilton punted Verstappen off at Copse corner, putting Verstappen out, while Hamilton went on to win.
But the outcome this time for both was quite different, as the stewards have given Verstappen a three-place grid penalty for the Russian GP in two weeks by declaring he was "predominantly to blame for the incident" that put both him and Hamilton out of the race.
It would be unfair to take anything away from McLaren, though, as Ricciardo was leading the race and Norris was second when Verstappen and Hamilton, who were fighting over fourth place at the time, collided. The McLarens had genuine pace, evidenced by the fact both drivers set fastest laps on the last lap of the race, with Ricciardo taking the extra point for fastest lap.
Ricciardo has been under pressure since joining McLaren at the start of the season, with many commentators and critics questioning whether he had lost his speed and competitive mojo.
There were signs at Spa that Ricciardo was coming to terms with the McLaren. With a qualifying position of fourth, which became a fourth-lace finish in the rain-shortened grand prix which consisted of just three laps behind the safety car. He then had a so-so race in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort, finishing out of the points in 11th place, just behind Norris. But after finishing third in the sprint-qualifying race, Ricciardo sensed things were about to change for the better - and so it proved, as he took the lead from Verstappen at the start of the race and was never headed.
It would be easy to say that had Verstappen and Hamilton not collided, the outcome might have been different, but in reality the McLarens had the race pace and position on the track to win on merit.
This was Ricciardo's first victory since taking out the Monaco GP for Red Bull in 2018. It is his eighth grand prix success, and possibly his best, given it has been achieved in a car that although third in the Constructors' title race - just ahead of Ferrari - is a long way behind Mercedes and Red Bull. It was the McLaren team's first 1-2 finish since the 2012 Canadian GP, while the last victory by a McLaren driver was achieved in that same year when Jenson Button won the season-ending Brazilian GP.
"Crazy, what an awesome day!" Ricciardo said. "I don't know, there was something in me on Friday, I knew something good was to come, so let's just say that. Deep down I knew this was going to come, so thanks for having my back - and for anyone who thought I had left, I never left, just moved aside for a while.
"Yeah, I've just been a sandbagging SOB the whole year," he joked.
"Thirds, fourths, fifths, you might as well just win, so that's what we did. And to not only win but to get a one-two. It's insane. For McLaren to be on the podium, it's huge, let alone one-two, so this is for team papaya … I'm for once lost for words," he added, referring to the orange livery of the cars.
Norris was happy with second, his best finish in F1, even though he would have preferred to have won.
"For our future, this is the best result we could have," he said. "There is always that desire inside to want to go for it. I think I had the pace to at least try, I can't say I would have got Daniel or not, but I could have tried at least.
"As much as inside I wanted to go for it, I was just as happy to stay in second because I'm a team guy. I love the team, I've grown up with them in a way, so this is the best result I could have hoped for."
Valtteri Bottas, who will join Alfa Romeo next year, with George Russell to replace him at Mercedes, was third, after starting from last on the grid due to an engine change. Bottas had won the sprint race, with Verstappen second, while Ricciardo was third and Hamilton only fifth. That result meant Verstappen picked up an extra two championship points, extending his championship lead over Hamilton to five, a margin he will now retain going to Sochi for the Russian GP.
Bottas said he "gave it all I had" and "it's almost like I had a bit of responsibility to carry the team today".
As for the Verstappen-Hamilton incident, both drivers and their respective teams have differing views on who was to blame, despite the stewards penalising Verstappen.
The latter is adamant that Hamilton ran him out of road.
"I think it was a bit worse than it looked like," he said. "He ran me a bit too much out of road. In the heat of the moment it's better to just walk off and everyone just calm down. I'm sure we'll talk about it.
"Today a lot of things went wrong - strategy went wrong, pitstop went wrong. A lot of things to analyse. A few weaknesses which we'll try to analyse and do better."
Verstappen maintains he didn't expect Hamilton to "keep on squeezing, squeezing, squeezing because he didn't even need to."
Unsurprisingly, Hamilton saw it differently.
"I came out, first saw Daniel came past, Max was coming, I made sure I left a car's width on the outside for him. I went into Turn 1 and I was ahead, going into Turn 2, and I was still ahead of him. Then suddenly he was on top of me.
"That's racing, but he just didn't want to give in today. He knew when he was going into 2 what was going to happen. He knew he was going over the kerb but he still did it."
Hamilton said the halo device saved his life. "I feel very, very fortunate today - thank God for the halo," he added. "That ultimately saved me, you know, and saved my neck."
He was also surprised that Verstappen walked away from the crash without checking to see if he was okay.
"I did see Max get out and just walk by," he said. "I found it a little bit surprising, because ultimately I think when we go out, and when we do have incidents, the first thing we want is make sure if the guy that we crashed into or we collided with is okay."
Of course, at Silverstone Hamilton didn't check on Verstappen's welfare until the race was over after punting him into the wall at 270km/h, and Verstappen has defended himself for not checking on Hamilton this time.
"Lewis was fine, he was still trying to reverse when I was already out of the car. When you are not fine, you are not doing that."
Before the race stewards decided Verstappen was at fault, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said it was what "in football, you'd call a tactical foul. He probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead, that is the race for him possibly."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that "to apportion blame in favour of one side or the other I genuinely think in that incident is very difficult to do".
"I'm disappointed Toto would say it was a professional foul, but I think it's a racing incident and thankfully nobody was injured today."
Former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa called it a 50/50 incident.
"They are fighting for the championship, and it shows they will not give any spaces," Massa stated. "In my view, the sausage kerb, which is part of the track, threw him up. Maybe Lewis would've been better to release the brake."
Fernando Alonso, who finished eighth for Alpine, didn't think the incident was "a big deal".
"At Silverstone it probably was, but this one was just a racing incident. Tyre with tyre and rubber makes the car fly. But it is low-speed, you know, they go at 30 or 40km/h, there is no danger, there is nothing. I think they both … they both did what they had to do."
Damon Hill has taken a less favorable view, hinting what Verstappen did was deliberate.
"I have to say, looking at the rerun of Max on Lewis in Turn 1, there was no way he was going to make that work," Hill said on Sky F1.
"He had to take evasive action, as Lewis did in the second chicane previously to avoid an accident, so the only conclusion is he might have been thinking 'I have to take him out.' Now I don't want to think that of any driver, but I think it was either an error of judgment or a calculated move to collide with Lewis. Which is strong, strong stuff and I don't like the idea I'm accusing anyone of doing that, but he's got a points advantage and this was a race which Mercedes was supposed to win."
Hill has conveniently forgotten that Hamilton gained 25 points punting Verstappen off at Silverstone, but both got zero points from this latest skirmish.