Having won five consecutive Formula One constructors' championships and then kept their team together for the 2019 season, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Mercedes are dominating again.
While the rest of the grid shuffled around in the close season, the Silver Arrows were again able to focus their efforts on champion Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
But Ferrari, and Sebastian Vettel in particular, surely could not have expected the start of the new campaign to be quite so brutal. They might well be out of the title race already.
Hamilton's victory in China - his second of the year - combined with a second-placed finish for Bottas, who won the opening race in Australia, means Mercedes have kicked off the campaign with three one-two finishes in a row.
That last happened in F1 back in 1992 when Williams enjoyed an embarrassingly straightforward season, coasting to the constructors' title with Nigel Mansell top of the drivers' standings and Riccardo Patrese second.
Such a repeat this year would be hugely damaging for Ferrari, yet it is difficult to rule it out right now. The gap between the top two teams is already at 57 points at this early stage.
Understandably, given the car's impressive performance in pre-season testing, attentions have already turned to their tactics, as they favour Vettel over new recruit Charles Leclerc.
Vettel is used to jostling with Hamilton at the front, but he required team orders to allow him through to take third in Shanghai and nudge a point ahead of Leclerc in the standings, though he still sits behind Max Verstappen.
And Vettel was spiky when asked about that call, accusing the media of "poor journalism" and claiming he would be misquoted as questions about preferential treatment persisted.
Yet such queries had existed even before Vettel failed to inspire again last week, forcing Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto to defend his driver - for the time being at least.
Vettel is Ferrari's main man, Binotto said. However, he added: "In a few races' time, things may change. We may change our position, no doubt."
After Sunday's race, Binotto acknowledged that he could understand Leclerc's disappointment after finishing in fifth place.
So, three meetings into the season, Vettel is facing a vastly different challenge to the usual title hunt. Instead, he is aiming to hold off Leclerc and ensure he retains top billing in the team.
Meanwhile, Hamilton appears to be in the clear, seemingly enjoying a free run at a sixth world title and a third in a row. His great modern rivalry with Vettel unfortunately looks in danger of becoming one-sided.
|Alaphilippe defends Fleche Wallonne title in tight finish|
|Cowboys pick up Ezekiel Elliott´s fifth-year option|
|Champions Cup final quintet nominated for European Player of the Year|
|NFL Draft 2019: How does Kyler Murray compare to QBs taken first overall?|
|Pukki, Sharp and Abraham top PFA Championship Team of the Year|
|Mourinho recharged by rest but not planning Premier League return|
|Pro14 set for brotherly battle as Jerry Sexton joins Southern Kings|
|Sometimes things I want don´t happen – Zidane cagey over futures of Navas, Courtois|
|Hamilton desperate to improve on Baku struggles|
|Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi undergoes successful surgery|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton and Bottas seeking historic one-two - Azerbaijan GP in numbers|
|LaLiga is the primary goal – Zidane out to end Barca´s recent dominance next term|
|NRL Opta facts: Roosters hoping to address poor ANZAC Day record|
|Ulreich: Nubel should hold off on Bayern Munich move|
|Almiron a doubt for Copa America due to hamstring injury|
|I´m still a Manchester United fan - Blind hopeful of resurgence under Solskjaer|
|Golden Knights blast ´embarrassing´ penalty call in dramatic Sharks defeat|
|Rangnick lauds RB Leipzig´s unique rise|
|Turin to host ATP Finals from 2021 to 2025|
|Chelsea manager Sarri charged by FA|
|I was just waving goodbye to them - Lillard sends Thunder packing|
|Manchester United players will have no hiding place against City - Solskjaer|
|Ortiz will not replace Miller to fight Joshua|
|United v City: De Gea, Pogba and the Red Devils´ stars in need of a ´reality check´|
|United v City: Aguero ready to shine after Old Trafford absences|
|Ferguson convinced me to take up management – Milosevic´s road to Partizan|
|United v City: Solskjaer out to correct Manchester derby record|
|United v City: Were the Red Devils too hasty to appoint Solskjaer?|
|Wheeler impresses in Mets´ win over Phillies|
|Raptors, 76ers advance as Lillard´s buzzer-beater sends Blazers through|
|Lillard´s stunning buzzer-beating three eliminates Thunder|
|Embiid: 76ers can win NBA Finals|
|Tigres UANL 0 Monterrey 1: Visitors draw first blood in Champions League final|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Cruzeiro stay perfect, Mineiro eliminated|
|Sterling reveals Van Dijk snub in favour of Kane|
|Frappart to become first female Ligue 1 referee|
|Cousins ´highly unlikely´ to return for Warriors in playoffs, says Kerr|
|Long´s Premier League record will be hard to beat – Hasenhuttl|
|Jovic to Madrid a ´real possibility´ – Eintracht director|
|NFL Draft 2019: Five overrated prospects, starting with a first-round QB|
|NFL Draft 2019: Teams with most riding on outcome|
|NFL Draft 2019: Five best first-round fits|
|Emery launches defence of Arsenal´s Mustafi|
|Valverde not bothered when Barca are crowned LaLiga champions|
|We have a chance to make change – Sterling calls for more to be done to combat racism|
|Solskjaer: Man Utd not ready to compete with City or Liverpool next season|
|Pochettino still harbours hope of Eriksen extension|
|Klopp set for Dortmund reunion in US friendly|
|49ers kicker Gould trying to force trade|
|Saracens wing Strettle to retire|
|Sevastova serves up Stuttgart bagel to oust Ostapenko|
|Man City have ´definitely not´ been offered Pogba again, insists Guardiola|
|Lucky loser Jarry shocks struggling Zverev in Barcelona|
|Guardiola rejects Solskjaer claims over City fouls|
|Deportivo Alaves 0 Barcelona 2: Alena and Suarez put champions-elect on brink of title|
|Rams pick up Goff´s fifth-year option|
|Hamburg 1 RB Leipzig 3: Poulsen and Forsberg fire visitors into DFB-Pokal final|
|Watford 1 Southampton 1: Gray cancels out Long´s record-breaking strike|
|Tottenham 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Eriksen´s late stunner gives Spurs control in top-four battl|
|Long, King and the Premier League´s fastest goalscorers|
|Playing alongside Ronaldo is a pleasure, says Dybala|
|Watson ends drought as Super Kings go top|
|Southampton´s Long scores Premier League´s fastest goal|
|Seahawks reportedly send Frank Clark to Chiefs|
|AFC Champions League Review: Giovinco strike earns 10-man Al-Hilal win|
|Messi benched for Deportivo Alaves v Barcelona|
|Alexander-Arnold happy to support United in Manchester derby|
|Hudson-Odoi to have surgery on ruptured Achilles tendon|
|NFL Draft 2019 Big Board: Murray & Bosa the top prospects|
|ATP to decide on Gimelstob future following sentencing|