In such a close-run Formula One championship chase, it was inevitable that the largely good-natured rivalry between the main Ferrari and McLaren protagonists wouldn't last for long.
Four alpha male personalities, waging a tightrope battle for the greatest prize in motorsport, isn't conducive to the sort of joking bonhomie that characterised the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa at Malaysia earlier in the season.
Alonso and Hamilton after finishing 1-2 at the Monaco Grand Prix © XPB/LAT
Sooner rather than later, we would witness an incident that would change the nature of the conflict so far, and lay down clear battle lines. Most would have bet that an accident or allegations of dirty driving would break the fragile calm and ignite a truly heated championship scrap.
Few would have predicted that allegations of team orders would prove the catalyst - and fewer still that those allegations would be levelled against McLaren rather than Ferrari.