Fernando Alonso succeeded in transforming his anticipated difficult Sunday afternoon at Spa into a spectacular race result which he labeled "unthinkable" just a few races ago.
The Spaniard had his work cut out for him as he launched his race from a penalty-ridden last spot on the Belgian GP grid.
He cleverly avoided the incidents in the first laps, climbing as high as 10th when the Virtual Safety Car was activated, and then took full advantage of the chaos which ensued following Kevin Magnussen's crash at Eau Rouge, finding himself a remarkable 4th when the race resumed after its red flag period.
The McLaren-Honda driver progressively dropped back down the order and crossed the line 7th, achieving a result he considered only a remote possibility beforehand.
"It was a good race," enthused Alonso.
"All the bad luck we had in the weekend concentrated in good luck in the race, with the incidents we avoided.
"We found ourselves in a good position, P4, but we could not hold Sebastian [Vettel], Hamilton and Perez, they were too fast.
"P7 was good points for the team. Top 10 yesterday in qualifying with Jenson [Button] and top 10 today, on a circuit like this, was unthinkable a couple of months ago, so very good news."
In the closing stages of the race, Alonso appeared to fall into the clutches of Valtteri Bottas whose Williams team even labeled the McLaren "a sitting duck" while on the radio with its driver.
But Alonso kept up the pace, even pulling out his fastest lap on his penultimate tour with masterful timing.
"I'm obviously happy and optimistic for the future. The joy right now is still not maximum because fighting for P7 is not our target, but the progress the team has made in the last 6 months is just amazing.
"We [would not have been] able to fight with Williams at Spa some months ago, we’re moving in the right direction, that’s for sure. We can be regularly in the points from now on.