Sunday's Australian Grand Prix dished up conditions that F1 teams seldom have to deal with - unseasonably cool weather. Where Bahrain and Malaysia had provided hot and steamy racing, testing engine longevity to the utmost, Australia posed a different challenge of how to generate the near-boiling temperatures needed to generate maximum grip from the tyres.
The green track and cool weather are conditions unlikely to be repeated this season, and it would be easy to dismiss Sunday's race as a freak. Yet it is these one-off events that test the drivers' and teams' adaptability to the limit, and often serve to separate the championship wheat from the chaff.
Fernando Alonso (Renault) leads the field behind the Safety Car © LAT
It's the sort of conditions in which Michael Schumacher and Ferrari used to excel. Now, Fernando Alonso and Renault have taken over this role, and are doing a magnificent job of it.
Alonso has become a champion in the Schumacher mould. He doesn't need to be the fastest driver at all times, nor the most exciting, nor the most reliant on victories. Instead, he has perfected the Schumacher principle of being on the dance-floor at all times, and letting the law of averages take care of the rest.