Thirteen laps into Sebastian Vettel's long-run on the option tyre around the Austin track during practice, it was beginning to look as if the rubber had given its best and he was into the grip drop-off phase.
Had that been the case, then it would be difficult to imagine how he might do a one-stop race - much the favoured strategy around here - and, that being so, then perhaps Lotus's Romain Grosjean might be able to give him and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber a race.
Another Japan or Germany, perhaps, with the Lotus not quite as ultimately quick but close enough that it could use its superior tyre longevity to make the Red Bulls have to fight for it.
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