For lap after lap in the Eifel Grand Prix, it was the same story: the two Mercedes cars shot past Autosport's media centre vantage point parallel to the pit straight, chased relentlessly by a single rival.
Of course, Valtteri Bottas's off-track mistake and then MGU-H-induced retirement ended the metronomic feeling to the opening phase of Formula 1's most recent race, but Max Verstappen's determined pursuit did not change. He hustled his RB16 after Lewis Hamilton for the rest of the contest, in a different pace league to the rest.
It was basically the same story in both races in Austria, where a power unit problem stopped Verstappen challenging Bottas for victory on a potentially stronger contra-strategy in the first event. Then in Hungary, twice again at Silverstone - where of course he won the 70th Anniversary GP, turning pursuit into attack - Spain and Spa it was the same story. Power issues struck twice in Italy, taking Verstappen out of an already unlikely title challenge, although it should be noted that his Monza weekend had been messy before his retirement, while normal service then resumed in Russia.