History bestows on us perspective; it permits us to slice and dice events into neat and easily-labelled compartments. The history of grand prix racing is no exception, wafting gracefully from clearly-defined era to clearly-defined era.
But that perspective also irons out the kinks, the blemishes, the mucky reality that makes what seems starkly obvious in retrospect invisible in real time. "Progress isn't always a straight line or a smooth path," as former US president Barack Obama puts it.
No matter how great things seem to be for Lewis Hamilton right now, with pre-season testing setting him up as world championship favourite yet again, there will be a time when he must face down the forces of history. And it could happen this year.