Well that was unexpectedly dull but after the run of cliffhanger races we’ve had lately we were probably due one that needed a double espresso strategy to make it to the finish line.
Max Verstappen’s 14th career F1 victory and his fourth of the season was delivered without drama leaving – as is often the case in these situations – the main talking points to be produced off track.
Time marches on but the memory of Honda’s fraught relationship with McLaren from 2015 to 2017 remains fresh, not least the very public brickbats aimed at the Japanese manufacturer as it struggled to come to terms with hybrid-era powertrains.
Scroll forward four years and Toto Wolff, whose Mercedes powerplant has been the thing to have for most of the last decade, spent much of the weekend fending off questions around his comments expressing surprise at the straightline speed of the Red Bull cars.
The inference being that because upgrades aren’t permitted for anything other than reliability reasons where could Red Bull’s rocket-like speed down the straights have come from?
Verstappen grumpily countered that the advantage came from the smaller rear wing Red Bull are running, suggesting that the aero efficiency of the Red Bulls is a level up on Mercedes at the moment.
As if to emphasise the point, a radio query from Hamilton to his pitwall during the race revealed the answer that Red Bull were two-tenths of a second per lap faster on the flat out bits in between the corners.
That he could muse on such issues in the cockpit and even calculate the dwindling margin his team mate Valtteri Bottas retained over Sergio Perez tells you all you need to know about what a lonely run to second place Hamilton had.
Afterwards the reigning world champion mused that maybe Red Bull had spent more developing their car for ’21 while Mercedes, not exactly impecunious themselves, had diverted more resource to the radical new machine for ’22.
When presented with Hamilton’s comments Wolff gently pointed out that the teams only had so many tokens to use and throwing money at the problem over the winter wouldn’t have been possible even if they had wanted to do it.
Either way it’s clear that Red Bull, after a fourth successive win, have the edge over their title rivals, particularly at their own track and it won’t be a disappointment to them that they’re back in the picturesque layout in the Styrian mountains near Zeltweg again next weekend.
For Mercedes the only consolation is that they, like the other teams, have no need to decamp between races, a welcome relief in the middle of a three-race back to back run.
Hamilton and friends will be anxiously surveying the weather apps this week as, on current evidence, only a meteorological intervention can give them a realistic chance of a victory next weekend.