The king is dead, long live the king - and at the rate of Kimi Raikkonen's appalling run of bad luck, the man soon sitting on the Formula One throne will be Fernando Alonso.
Michael Schumacher's fiveyear reign came to an end at Ferrari's spiritual Monza home, and virtually unnoticed such was the undistinguished manner of his lowly 10th place in the Italian Grand Prix.
Instead, it was Juan Pablo Montoya who swept to victory from pole to flag for a second triumph of the season, and the sixth of his 81-race career - with his first four years ago at the same circuit.
With Alonso in his Renault just 2.5seconds adrift, the runners-up spot was enough for the Spaniard to open up a 27 - point cushion on Raikkonen with just four races remaining.
The Finn was forced to settle for fourth place in a McLaren that is clearly the best car in Formula One at present, but would appear to have run over a number of black cats at the team's Woking headquarters.
As if yesterday's third engine change in six grands prix ahead of qualifying was not bad enough for Raikkonen, just beyond the midway point of the race, a shredding left-rear tyre forced an unscheduled pit stop.
That came on lap 28, just three laps after the 25-yearold had pitted for the first, and what would have been his only time, as McLaren had opted for a one-stop strategy with every other driver on two.
That had come about due to a starting position of 11th on the grid following a 10-place demotion for the engine change, and it would have worked to perfection if the Michelin tyre had not started to disintegrate.
"I would have won the race but for that," insisted Raikkonen, who also suffered a minor spin late on at the Parabolica as he was charging in a bid to make up places.
"This is such a disappointing day for me which could have ended much better. The tyre problem caused an additional stop which prevented me from benefiting from our one-stop strategy, and it is a pity the result does not affect our performance.
"I cannot believe these things that keep happening to me, but I am not letting them get me down and I go to the next race determined to continue my fight for the title."
As it stands, if Alonso scores four more points than Raikkonen in Belgium next Sunday, the battle for the championship will be over
and the sport will be heralding the youngest world champion in its history.
Alonso, though, refuses to consider he even has one hand on the world title as he said: "Let's keep doing the same things we have been doing as professionally as we can, perfect weekends with no mechanical problems, good laps in qualifying and a strong race on Sundays.
"If we can keep doing that then we'll have two hands on the championship very soon."
McLaren team principal Ron Dennis said he is determined to prevent Alonso from doing just that as he said: "We had a great strategy and Kimi drove an excellent race."
The race was the first since the Dutch Grand Prix of 1961 where there were no mechanical retirements.