For the first five Grands Prix of the 2008 season, the weather gods produced dry and grippy conditions, delaying the answer to one of the pre-season's burning questions: just how would the loss of traction control affect the field in wet weather racing?
Jarno Trulli splashes through the Monaco Grand Prix © LAT
The wet streets of Monaco not only answered that question, but also injected spectacle and unpredictability into a race that is routinely high in glamour and low in racing action.
For the drivers, the prospect of two solid hours' racing on a slippery circuit with no margin for error (even in dry conditions) would be a supreme test of patience and car control, and a fine balance between exhilarating triumph and embarrassing failure.
Just a few years ago, there were certain standout names that you could bank on to succeed in such conditions. Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were acknowledged rain masters, while Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button presented their credentials with superb wet drives at Hungary 2006.