So it was in 2017, so it is again a year later, with seemingly no lessons learned.
A brilliant first half to the season last year saw Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes under serious threat from Ferrari. But following the summer break, despite a couple of wins, due to a combination of errors, both by the team and its star driver, it all fell apart, allowing Hamilton and Mercedes to claim another title apiece.
A year later, and following an even stronger start to the season, come the summer break and Ferrari and Vettel are all over the place, with both making repeated and unnecessary - dare one say amateur - mistakes.
Be it the ludicrous strategy gaff witnessed on Saturday, the question mark over that second sensor or the numerous unnecessary incidents Vettel has been involved in, the German is now down on his rival by 67 points, and no matter how broadcasters might dress it up and what scenarios they might conjure up, it is over.
And while fans wonder what has gone so spectacularly wrong, so too does Hamilton.
"Up until the mid-part of the season they were very strong," the Briton told reporters after securing his sixth win in seven races.
"I definitely hadn't anticipated that they would tail off as they have," he admitted. "The performances have not been coming as strong as they were before. I don't really have an answer for that, it's not something I've really focused on, but I'm sure Sebastian could tell why.
"We've just been focussing on trying to do the best job we can and maximise the potential of our own ability," he added.
"You have to set your sights high. As we came into the season we set the goal high. We got to mid-season, we had that win going into the break," he said, referring to German where Vettel slithered off in the wet while leading, allowing Hamilton to take the win that begun his sequence of six from seven,
"We've been pushing to make sure we come back even stronger. That's what you're hoping to achieve, it's not always the case that you do. We have, through great hard work from everyone."
Check out our Sunday gallery from Suzuka, here.