Once this world championship is finally settled, there will be many incidents or performances that could be singled out as being keys to the outcome. But with the possible exception of Belgium, the Japanese Grand Prix is probably the one that will ultimately determine whether Lewis Hamilton or Felipe Massa is wearing the number one next season.
The first couple of laps at Fuji were as dramatic as the last two at Spa a little over a month earlier. And once again it was Massa and not Hamilton who came out on top. And having been gifted a six-point swing in his favour in Belgium, he got another one-point present from the stewards this time around.
In Japan, the officials saw fit to impose not one but three different penalties that had a direct bearing on the title contenders. It was an extraordinary state of affairs and one that has - inevitably - given further fuel to those who insist that decisions have been made to make life difficult as possible for Hamilton and McLaren.