On Saturday Red Bull offered Mercedes an opportunity to take something special from the Mexican Grand Prix and on Sunday Max Verstappen snatched it right back.
If ever an entire race weekend could be distilled and condensed into one fleeting moment it was the split second when Verstappen lifted off the brake pedal and turned into turn one on the outside line to take the lead from third on the grid.
It was a decision made by a driver operating at the zenith of his ability and with total confidence and understanding in the lateral grip capability of his Red Bull as he swept in front of the two Mercedes cars which started ahead of him.
The standard thinking around F1 motor racing is that a driver will have a natural anxiety and tentativeness until that first title has been secured. And that that nervousness should be amplified the closer to the finish line you get.
Verstappen displays none of those fears. He is a driver who operates with an air of confidence – and yes arrogance – which suggests he believes he is already a champion. On the evidence of recent races, it would be hard to disagree.
If qualifying was a bit of a kerfuffle and masked the true potential of the Red Bull, Verstappen and his team must surely have known they had a competitive advantage on Sunday.
Given that knowledge and the natural conservative attitude which often afflicts drivers as they approach championship endgames, it might have been understandable if Verstappen had backed off into turn one and waited to pounce at pit stop time.
Not a bit of it. Verstappen, with 110 litres of fuel onboard turned in on the racing line and Hamilton could do nothing about it. Instead, it was pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas who was the timid one, backing out of the fight and getting tagged by Daniel Ricciardo for his troubles.
Fortune favoured the brave and there are few braver than Verstappen who swept into a lead you instinctively knew he was never likely to lose.
Behind him, Lewis Hamilton fought an impressive rearguard action throughout to finish second. In holding off a highly motivated Sergio Perez for second, Hamilton probably took more out of the race than his car deserved and Perez’s inability to vault the seven-time world champion helped to reinforce the level of Verstappen’s performance.
So Verstappen is the first man to win three editions of the Mexican Grand Prix and heads to Sao Paolo with a comfortable 19-point lead in the championship. Interlagos might be a track more suited to Red Bull than Mercedes but Hamilton has had plenty of notable success there in the past and it’s still less than a clear win.
Verstappen looks unbeatable at the moment. Just four races left. You wonder if and when that tension will start to creep into his driving. No sign of it yet.