Normal service was resumed at the Portuguese Grand Prix at the Portimao circuit, as world champion Lewis Hamilton showed his class to comprehensively beat his main challenger, Max Verstappen.
With polesitter Valtteri Bottas finishing third, it could easily have been a result any of the races in last year's championship which Hamilton dominated, while Bottas and Verstappen battled to be second best.
Despite Bottas leading from pole in the early stages of the race, and Verstappen overtaking Hamilton at one point, the latter used his experience and patience and waited for the other two to make a mistake, which they did. First Verstappen had a wobbly moment entering the main straight, allowing Hamilton to get the tow and DRS took care of the rest.
It was a similar scenario with Bottas, who tried to protect the inside line down the main straight, but Hamilton simply drove around him on the outside and sailed off to win his 97th grand prix and take an 8-point lead over Verstappen in the championship.
After two races the Sky Sports commentators and the media generally were heralding a close race for the championship and even echoing Mercedes boss Toto Wolff's claim that the Red Bull was faster than his team's car.
He claimed the hunted were now the hunters. But the outcome of this third race would suggest that Hamilton is back to doing what he does best, which is winning races, and the Mercedes is definitely faster than the Red Bull, as evidenced by the Mercedes front-row lock out in qualifying and pace in the race.
Joining the Sky Sports commentators for this event was 2016 world champion, Nico Rosberg, the only Mercedes driver to beat Hamilton.
"What a phenomenal race by Lewis," Rosberg said on Sky Sport F1.
"I'm a bit amused because Max Verstappen is starting to understand better and better how good Lewis Hamilton is. He needs to do everything perfect to beat him in the World Championship but at the moment it is 2-1 for Lewis."
Rosberg also pounced on the mistakes made by Verstappen in both qualifying and the race, to back up his point.
"If we think about qualifying yesterday, it was Max Verstappen who had the fastest lap, it just got deleted because of a mistake. And fastest lap again in the race. Verstappen got it deleted again for going off track limits. That's too many mistakes."
The track-limit rulings by the race stewards is frustrating Red Bull boss Christian Horner, as it affected both his drivers in this race, with Sergio Perez, who eventually finished 4th, complaining that Lando Norris in the McLaren, who finished 5th, had exceeded track limits to overtake him, even though he later got the place back.
"Well, we managed to split the Mercedes," Horner told Sky F1.
"You can see it's very, very marginal. Marginal gains. I think we were better on the medium tyre and Mercedes looked a little stronger on the harder tyre today.
"It was frustrating not to get that point at the end [for fastest lap] but we'll definitely take that," he said, meaning P2 and P4.
"Track limits are a bone of contention and the consistency of their application. This championship will come down to all the marginals."
When reminded that Norris was not penalised by the stewards for his overtake on Perez which he appeared to complete by going off the track, similar to what Verstappen did with Hamilton in Bahrain, Horner was irritated.
"He got overtaken with a car going over the track limits. That's what I'm saying ... we get a document from the FIA, it changes one day to the next and the application of these [rulings] are frustrating. Sergio was super frustrated by that."
Also frustrated was Verstappen, not just because his point for fastest lap was taken away from him, but with the venue itself.
"The whole weekend I didn't enjoy because of the grip levels around here," he explained.
"Barcelona is good. It's a nice track for an F1 car and I think we'll see more of how the progression of the teams has been from the start of the season to today.
"It was clearly lacking a little bit of grip, a little bit of top speed, just not being able to put the pressure on Mercedes."
"There was never really one point when I thought 'okay, we have the pace to fight him' so I tried to stay second."
When told by interviewer Paul di Resta that the point for fastest lap had been taken away from him, going to Bottas instead, Verstappen was a bit sarcastic.
"Oh really? That's a good one. That's a bit odd because they weren't checking track limits at Turn 14, but whatever."
When told what Rosberg had said about how he was now finding out just how good Hamilton is, Verstappen was not impressed.
"I don't need Nico to make me realise how good Lewis is. I know he's very good, otherwise you don't win so many championships."
There is no doubt Hamilton races tenaciously, and he does the gamesmanship well also, even trying to convince his competitors listening in to his team's car radio that his tyres were going off, yet a few laps later there he is passing Bottas and setting the fastest lap. But even though he won comfortably, he assured the media it wasn't easy.
"That was such a tough race-physically and mentally," Hamilton said. "Just keeping everything together. It's very windy out there, so it's very easy to just put a foot wrong."
"I really had to try to position myself the best that I could, I can't remember but I think Max made a mistake at some point on the lap which was perfect, and I knew that was the lap where I was going to be as close as I could to him in the last sector. Then with Valtteri, I had to make the move early on before the tyres were destroyed and managed to just get him into turn one, just right on the limit. Just great racing."
The first three were well clear of the rest. Bottas and Verstappen had the luxury of making an extra pit-stop with a couple of laps to go to try and set the fastest lap on fresh tyres, and still stay ahead of Perez. Bottas took it after Verstappen's time was deleted.
The best of the rest was Norris, finishing in the top five for the third race running, and he remains third in the championship.
Next came Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari, just ahead of the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso. Leclerc said that he and teammate Carlos Sainz struggled on the medium tyres. He was quite self critical, indicating "I haven't done a great job as a driver" and adding: "I could have done a much better job."
Alonso had made similar self-effacing comments after his poor race at Imola, while his teammate Ocon seems to be getting better and better.
A question put to Alonso by Rosberg post-race allowed the Spaniard, who admits his two-year break from F1 means he is struggling to come up to speed, to reveal how he went from 13th on the grid to finish 8th, just one second behind his teammate who started from 6th.
Rosberg suggested the old gladiatorial Alonso had returned.
"A little bit, I agree on that," Alonso responded. "I think in Bahrain I was more careful on everything just to complete the first grand prix. At Imola I was so uncomfortable in the car in the conditions. I didn't feel good on the intermediate tyres, the visibility, the qualifying was bad, so I think this was really the first race that I was extracting the maximum from the car.
"I was upset after yesterday's qualifying, so today that anger was probably on track as well.
"I wish this is the real pace," he added. "At Imola and Bahrain we were in a different group of cars in the fight. Here we were with the McLarens, Ferraris and Alpha Tauris, so we would love to keep doing like this. At Barcelona and Monaco, Saturdays are very important because you cannot overtake, so I still have some homework to do."
Alonso will race at home in Spain for the first time in three years. Sainz had replaced him as the local hero, so it will be interesting to see who the 1000 fans allowed to attend the race, will cheer for.
Last year Hamilton took pole and won the race by 24 seconds from Verstappen, with Bottas third.
If Verstappen and Red Bull are to challenge Hamilton and Mercedes for the championship, they need to reverse the Portuguese result, otherwise the season that almost everyone thought would be a battle for 23 races, could soon begin to look ominously like a record-breaking Hamilton benefit.
At the current rate he will soon have 100 pole positions and 100 race wins, totals that nobody else may ever reach, and which puts Hamilton in a class of his own, even allowing for the obvious benefit the Mercedes car gives him.