Mercedes’ megastar Lewis Hamilton remains in an enviable position, not only as a 5-time F1 World Champion… and established great.
But, also in chasing a sixth title, having finished first or second in the last seven races… and with main rival, the Prancing Horse, on the back foot, Ferrari yet to unlock the full potential of the SF90.
Standing in his way, though, is his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who entered 2019 a changed man - mentally, but physically a little edgier with a beard, the Finn no longer keen to play second fiddle.
And it’s got all the hallmarks for a return to intra-team war at Mercedes, after Bottas stormed to victory in Australia - and then held off Hamilton in Azerbaijan under maximum pressure for two wins from four races.
The Brit, though, is far from fazed.
SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,5-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Each year, hopefully, the goal is always to get better and naturally looking at competitors out there, the more competition the better. You always want to be against the best at their best because when you beat them it's more painful for them and more joyful for you."
And painful it could become - for everyone at the Silver Arrows - with the memory of 2016 still fresh including Nico Rosberg’s mental warfare as he sought to lift the world title.
… which he did, then promptly quit the sport.
But Hamilton learnt from the experience.
SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON, 5-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Obviously I went into that break and mentally I was like, I don't ever want to be in a position, or put the team in a position that they have to decide whether we are first or second. I was like, from now on, I need to be ahead every single time and there'll never, ever be a question of Valtteri [Bottas], you’ve got to let Lewis past, those kind of things.”
It’s going to be a long, hard road to Abu Dhabi, but you can bet Hamilton will be ready should the going get tough.
… especially with the Brit racing at the peak of his powers.