It's almost time to find out who has shown their wares during testing, and who has been sandbagging. But after 21,489 kilometres of pounding around Barcelona, a picture has emerged that sets the stage for this weekend's Australian Grand Prix.
Teams, especially the top ones, will always keep that little bit of performance hidden by running with a little more fuel on board when they go for their fastest lap or, if they really have confidence in where they are, by a driver having a little lift in each section of the track just to save that last tenth of a second for when it really matters.
But it is important every team runs its car to the maximum just to ensure everything is working as predicted. It's very easy when you are right on the limit, with maximum braking and corner forces, for a small fuel pickup problem to arise that can cause a misfire. Or an oil pressure sensor might pick up a low-pressure spike and shut the engine down.