Sebastian Vettel's United States Grand Prix loss to Lewis Hamilton was superficially the mildest of Ferrari's recent disasters. He finished second and there was no start catastrophe or mechanical malady to be distraught about, but this will nonetheless have been the hardest of hard knocks.
For this was a long, slow death at the hands of the dominant combined force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. Unlike Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, all races Ferrari could argue it might have won, this was defeat; pure, simple and emphatic.
Hamilton under-delivered in qualifying and left a few tenths on the table thanks to failing to improve with his final Q3 run, but was still on pole position by 0.239 seconds. After losing track position at the start, he still reclaimed the lead from Vettel with surprising ease.