In Formula 1 the times they are indeed a' changin', and not a moment too soon. Perhaps, with the departure of Michael Schumacher, that was to be anticipated but as we looked to the future most of us expected - at least for a time - the focus to fall on Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, for long regarded, with Schumacher, as members of the Big Three.
When we get down to the bitter limits of the world championship, come the autumn, it may very well be that the fight will have distilled to Fernando and Kimi, but he would be an idiot who assumed that just at the moment. The pair of them are equal on points, at the top of the standings, with one Carl Lewis Hamilton, and next up is Felipe Massa, who won in Bahrain at the weekend. Three races: three different winners.
Raikkonen and Alonso may have taken points on Sunday, but they were only third and fifth, never in with a shout. Their (perceived) number twos, meantime, started from the front row, and quickly disappeared into a race of their own.
After scrappy races in Melbourne and Sepang, Massa needed a win swiftly if he were not to become the de facto supporting act to Raikkonen at Ferrari, and he perfectly delivered, as in Turkey and Brazil last year.
Felipe knew he'd been in a race, though. After making a fool of himself in Malaysia, where he squandered pole position, then lost time with a couple of ill-judged lunges at Hamilton, he avowed that this time he was going to be more aggressive at the start, but in the event it wasn't necessary.
Lewis did not make a scintillating getaway this time, but thereafter his afternoon - yet again - was not to be faulted. In early March he departed England as an F1 rookie; in mid-April he returns as a superstar in bud.
On the slowing-down lap, Hamilton drew alongside Massa, clapping his rival in a manner more reminiscent of MotoGP than F1, and it was good to see. At 27 and 25 respectively, Raikkonen and Alonso are hardly old boys, and, lest we forget, won the first two races, but both must have been a touch disconcerted by the events in Bahrain, for they have young team-mates who clearly don't know their place.
In the case of Kimi you'd never know, of course, for his po-face reveals nothing, but perhaps not surprisingly there was a flash of irritation from Fernando afterwards when he was asked, for the zillionth time, 'Didn't Lewis do well?'
It seems to me we have the potential, anyway, for the most exhilarating grand prix season in a generation, with the fight between Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes its essence, the arrival of Hamilton its particular spark.
Add in that - for now, anyway - Jean Todt is allowing his drivers to race each other (as Ron Dennis has always done), and the picture can hardly be improved.
Sooner or later, Hamilton has to goof somewhere, because... well, because that's what F1 apprentices always do. When he does, it may not be a surprise, for it is in the nature of things, but somehow it will be a shock, for as yet Lewis has not made a mistake of consequence, which is remarkable, given that he has been at the sharp end the whole time. What is staggering is how good he looks against the best driver in the world, who is his team-mate - and who finished 12 seconds behind him in Bahrain.
Inevitably, all the hoop-la surrounding Lewis has tended to dwarf discussion of most other drivers, including Nick Heidfeld, who sits fifth in the points, only a couple adrift of Massa.
Heidfeld, fourth in each of the races to date, has rather bucked the trend in 2007, in that he has squarely asserted himself, relative to a highly-touted young team-mate. At the end of last season, not too many would have gone for Nick over Robert Kubica, but so far he has had much the better of him, not least because he has more readily adapted to Bridgestones.
He is the very opposite of flash, Heidfeld. Given his links with McLaren in F3000 days, he had the highest hopes of replacing David Coulthard in the F1 team, and was stunned when his Sauber team-mate, the precocious Raikkonen, got the job instead. While Kimi immediately started winning, Nick stayed where he was, scoring the odd point here and there.
He never compromised his efforts, though, instead getting on with making the most of what he had. His work ethic, when he moved to Williams in 2005, greatly impressed everyone, and Patrick Head told me he had been very sorry to see Heidfeld go after one season. "I was very impressed with Nick - not only in the car, but also in the way he conducted himself generally.
He doesn't sort of 'high-profile' himself, but he's a very tough character. His interaction with the team in general, was extremely professional at all times. "In '05 Mark [Webber] was usually able to outqualify him, but in racing conditions it was a different matter.
Over that season I think Nick made up 20 places between the start and the end of the first lap, whereas Mark was actually in the negatives. Now you could say that that was because Mark over-qualified the car's rightful position on the grid - but you could also see that Nick always seemed able to work out where to be on the track at the first corner, so that he would get through okay. Equally, he was often quite forceful on the opening lap, going round the outside of people, and so on.
"It was a big decision not to carry on with him, but when we lost our deal with BMW (which we learned about on the day they announced they were buying Sauber), we didn't move as quickly as we could have done. We had an option on Nick for 2006, but not for '07 and '08, and before we'd decided on our steps forward, Mario Theissen had stepped in, and done a deal with Nick for those two years. We then decided not to run him in '06, because it's never easy running a driver you know is leaving.
"Something that really impressed me about Nick was that when we were in trouble with the car, he took a much more positive attitude than Mark did - perhaps because, in terms of problems, he'd had a much more difficult start to life in F1."
A relatively anonymous figure in F1, as Head says, Heidfeld has become known as a journeyman - a superior one, but a journeyman nevertheless. Now into his eighth season of F1, he has never won a grand prix, nor come close to it, and through the back end of last season was increasingly regarded as south of Kubica, some of whose early performances were sensational.
When his contract ended - after the '08 season - it was not expected, with blue-eyed boy Sebastian Vettel hovering, that it would be renewed.
Now, though, it transpires that Nick is a free agent at the end of this season and, in light of his '07 performances to date, could be in some demand: you had to be impressed by his pass of Alonso on Sunday.
That said, to some degree you could argue that Heidfeld is proof positive that in the modern era, as never before, the car maketh the man, that in a competitive BMW he is suddenly a competitive driver.
It works the other way round, too, as Rubens Barrichello can tell you. To leave Ferrari a year early is one thing, to do it so as to join Honda quite another. While Massa took the pole in Bahrain , and won the race, Rubens qualified 15th, and finished 13th, lapped.
Has to keep you awake nights, something like that.