Formula 1's divide between leading trio Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, and the chasing midfield pack had expanded from a small gap to a large ravine by the end of last season. The championship really was divided into Class A and Class B.
For those on the receiving end of a fortnightly drubbing, which is the 14 drivers not in those top cars, it was tough to accept that they were left fighting for scraps, and that seventh place - 'Class B victory' - was the only realistic target on a normal weekend.
As Renault's Nico Hulkenberg said: "It's not nice, but it's impressive to see how much performance there can be. That's how it is right now. We just need to work harder and do a better job not to be in that position anymore."