Whether it was a minor blip or he was cruelly playing with his teammate, much like a cat with a mouse, Lewis Hamilton's failure to make it a clean sweep in FP3 yesterday offered Nico Rosberg the slightest glimmer of hope.
Indeed, there was another minor glimpse in Q3 before the Briton once again snatched it away.
Fact is, Lewis is in one of those rare phases in a racing driver's career where he is at one with his car. On Friday he was awesome, and that continued yesterday as he put together an almost perfect lap having previously appeared to have blown it.
Whilst nobody wants to see total domination there is something special when one sees a driver fully in tune with his car, a special feeling that so many of his rivals will be envying right now.
Whilst not wishing to get drawn in to the banal media frenzy surrounding the Hamilton/Rosberg relationship and how it might develop as the season progresses, one cannot help but notice that the popular young German is looking increasingly beaten.
Then again, whilst Lewis might have dismissed the services of the team's new psychologist, perhaps Nico would benefit from a couple of morale boosting sessions.
On the other hand so might Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and a whole host of others whose season already appears doomed.
The long, dragster-style run to the first corner will be fascinating today and it will be interesting to see who takes advantage as the Mercedes teammates battle one another. Ricciardo, Bottas, the Ferrari duo and Massa springing to mind. But keep an eye on Vettel, starting from 15th, also, the German 'enjoying' the weekend from hell.
On long runs, short runs, prime tyres, medium tyres, Hamilton's pace has been unreal this weekend, and at this point the only thing we can see robbing him of victory is over enthusiasm or poor reliability, and neither has been much of a problem thus far this year. Therefore, we appear to be looking at another (groan) Mercedes 1-2.
What should be fascinating however is the battle behind, with a number of tight, very competitive groups.
McLaren continues to play down its chances, almost to the point of boredom, and while we do not believe the team's issues have been resolved, both drivers have been performing better than expected this weekend. Ditto Williams, where Valtteri Bottas deserves serious kudos for that late qualifying lap.
For once, Raikkonen has the edge at Ferrari, however, whether the partisan crowd can lift Fernando Alonso in the same way that Nigel Mansell used to benefit at Silverstone remains to be seen. At least we know that the Spaniard will give 100%.
Vettel's problems will allow the ever improving, ever impressive Daniel Ricciardo to further compound his misery, the Australian highly likely to take the third place on the podium this afternoon.
After a strong start to the season, both Force India and Toro Rosso have struggled here, though we expect Hulkenberg, Perez and Kvyat to give good accounts of themselves, while strategy might allow the hapless Vergne to put on a show.
Lotus' misery continues, the Enstone outfit seemingly being hammered from all directions. Romain Grosjean put in as superb performance in qualifying, surely he deserves to take away something from this weekend.
At the back, Sauber will find itself under pressure from two fired-up Marussia drivers, the Swiss team but a shadow of its former self. As for Caterham, one cannot help but feel that this is a team that has effectively given up, the days of Tony Fernandes grinning from the prat-perch waving his Colin Chapman cap a very distant memory.