For so long the ending of the 2020 British Grand Prix story seemed known: Lewis Hamilton triumphs for the seventh time. The on-the-flag reports were written, post-event columns planned, questions ready: how did the world champion feel about taking a comfortable, record-extending win at Silverstone without the usual support from the fans?
But that ending ultimately never came into existence, even though it had been foreshadowed for 49 largely insipid tours of last Sunday's 52-lap race. It was replaced, instantly, when Valtteri Bottas's left-front tyre gave way just as he approached the final corner on that 49th lap.
And that second new ending was replaced by the third and finally real one, as Hamilton too had a left-front blowout - in his case on the final tour. Hamilton crawled to the line, Peter Bonnington calmly telling him the ever-decreasing gap to Max Verstappen: "30 seconds behind" then "25s", "20s", "16s" at Chapel, "10s" at Stowe "nine" and then "seven" at the final, desperately slow final corner. But he did it, taking victory by 5.856s, agonising and brilliant all at once.