Last year's French Grand Prix was a nadir for McLaren. It had the second-slowest car at Paul Ricard, while off track it was on the brink of a reshuffle of personnel in an attempt to get back on the right track. New low points followed as the season went from bad to worse, with 'baked in' aerodynamic limitations rendering development attempts largely futile.
This year's French GP was a high point. Lando Norris was only 0.009 seconds slower than Max Verstappen's Red Bull in qualifying, and McLaren likely would have taken a 'one-two' in the midfield battle but for him suffering a hydraulic issue and being shuffled back from seventh thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's last-lap move at the chicane.
It's the third time in eight races that McLaren has prevailed in 'Class B', and while its points tally - 40 - is identical to the same stage last season, there is evidence that the team has eliminated one of its big weaknesses of 2018 and turned it into a strength.