After all the drama and excitement under the starry skies of the Bahrain Grand Prix, China may have delivered a somewhat soberer rendition of F1 at the spectacular Shanghai International Circuit, but it remained no less significant.
The last of the flyaways before F1 settles into the European leg of the season, though few would bet against Mercedes from notching up a third consecutive 1-2 result, it remained to be seen whether Lewis Hamilton would be celebrating a third consecutive success or Nico Rosberg could take the fight to him after losing out at Bahrain.
Indeed, despite the back-slapping and expression of mutual respect following their Bahrain battle, Rosberg's words pre-event suggested a more unsettled feeling bubbling under the surface about how close they occasionally erred during the race.
As such, though Rosberg arrived in Shanghai keen to get one up on his team-mate and his increasingly likely title rival, Hamilton by contrast saw it as a challenge to simply avoid any such clash and drive away in China… which he ultimately did.
A disappointing fourth place in qualifying after a spin ultimately nixed any hope for Rosberg to get on terms with Hamilton, even if his second place means he remains four points ahead in the overall standings.
Beyond the Mercedes inter-team battle, Fernando Alonso delivered Ferrari's most convincing performance of the season so far on the weekend Marco Mattiacci came on board as team manager, the Spaniard's efforts made all the more impressive considering Kimi Raikkonen's lacklustre run to eighth.
Over at Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo once again got the better of Sebastian Vettel with some feisty driving, the Australian finishing just off the podium, while Nico Hulkenberg made it four consecutive top six finishes in sixth place.
Mixed fortunes for Williams would see Valtteri Bottas score more points in seventh – while Felipe Massa's poor pit stop cost him a similar finish -, ahead of Raikkonen, Bahrain standout Sergio Perez and Danill Kvyat, the young Russian showing up his team-mate again and proving once more that he deserves his place in F1.
Elsewhere, glimmers of hope at Lotus saw Romain Grosjean running inside the points before retiring with more technical dramas.
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F1 Driver of the Day: Chinese Grand Prix
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