Two weeks ago, we kicked off our introduction to the Bahrain Grand Prix by describing it as "one of the most eagerly-anticipated Formula 1 races in history".
That being the case, it's only fair to concede that it now also ranks among the most anti-climactic. But on the flipside, this weekend's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park should go a fair way towards providing an antidote to the Bahrain tedium. If it helps, try thinking of Bahrain as a pre-season test that counted towards the championship, and pretend that Melbourne is the real 2010 curtain-raiser.
So why will it be any different? For starters, all the things that made the lead-up to Bahrain so gripping are still there. We're still getting our heads around seeing Michael Schumacher back in an F1 car, we're still getting used to the new teams (all three of which have already done a far better job than they have been given credit for) and we're still yet to get the final word on who has the upper hand at McLaren, although the score currently stands at 1-0 in Lewis Hamilton's favour.
The safety car in the 2009 Australian GP © LAT
But when it comes to the spectacle, the advantage that Melbourne will have over Bahrain is that there is more scope for the unexpected. History suggests that it's unlikely that the entire field will make it through the first corner intact and, while the trouble usually kicks off in the midfield or the back of the pack, the frontrunners are not immune - just ask Jacques Villenueve, who took pole by 1.3s here in 1997 and then got caught up in a three-way shunt with Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert at Turn 1.
Past form also points to the likelihood of a safety car, which has some potential to mix things up and, while overtaking is not much easier at Albert Park than it is anywhere else, there are a couple of places where drivers can at least consider trying a move, with Turns 1 and 3 being close to the top of the list.
In terms of the championship, Melbourne should help to fill in a few of the gaps left blank in Bahrain. Is the gap between Red Bull/Ferrari and McLaren/Mercedes really as big as it looked a couple of weeks ago? What happened to Sauber's testing form? And who be the first to register a finish out of HRT and Virgin?
One of the side-effects of the refueling ban is that it has severely limited the strategic options, as we all saw to such tedious effect in Bahrain. Despite all of the uproar, there have been no changes made to the rules for this weekend, so the parameters remain the same.
As Williams' Sam Michael said in the team's pre-event preview: "Bahrain gave a good indication as to what will be the most likely pit strategy for Melbourne".
Translation: start on the softer tyres and switch when you make your solitary stop - which, ideally, will be just before the guy that you're racing against.