A mistake amid a run of glowing results can bring a career to its knees. A moment of brilliance amid a dire succession of failures can offer a lifeline. Small details can define sporting careers. That is why elite athletes are constantly striving for perfection. And it is why Valtteri Bottas was disappointed with his maiden season with Mercedes.
His first half was nothing to be ashamed of. Having been parachuted into the reigning world champion team at short notice, following Nico Rosberg's shock retirement, Bottas acquitted himself remarkably well. He ticked off his first Formula 1 pole position in round three in Bahrain and followed that up with his first victory in Russia a race later, comprehensively beating his three-time world champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
He subsequently repeated both feats in Austria and entered the summer break just 19 points adrift of Hamilton and 33 off the top spot occupied by Sebastian Vettel. Had Bottas and Mercedes been offered that situation before the season, they would almost certainly have taken it.