Mercedes and Ferrari were, near as makes no difference, bang on the same pace in Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix. After the dramatic swings across pre-season testing and the first two race weekends in Australia and Bahrain, with Ferrari, then Mercedes, then Ferrari again having the fastest underlying pace, will the 1000th world championship race be the first tight battle between the pair of the season?
The answer is, very possibly, because there were also indications that long-run pace for Ferrari and Mercedes might also be very similar. But there were also aspects of the Bahrain performance that carried over.
Looking at the fastest laps set on Friday, which must be laden with caveats even more than usual because of the tricky track conditions and the challenges of getting the tyres into the optimum window without overworking them, Ferrari still has the advantage on the straights.