"Honestly, I'll take it one step at a time," Lewis Hamilton had to say, avoiding complacency, but the Formula One title race looks to be run for another year.
Hamilton's advantage over Sebastian Vettel stands at 67 points with just four races remaining, while Mercedes are 78 clear of Ferrari. If it is not quite all over until the fat lady sings, then she is at least warming up her vocal chords.
The talk following Hamilton's win at the Russian Grand Prix centred around the team's decision to ask Valtteri Bottas to sacrifice a first victory of the season for his team-mate. This time, the focus is on the ease of a second consecutive one-two in Japan.
For, just as last season, rivals Ferrari have faded horribly.
Vettel won four of the first 11 races in 2017 - as many as Hamilton - before recording just one more victory in the remainder of the campaign, as the Mercedes man kicked on and cruised to the title.
This time around, since Vettel won the British Grand Prix to claim an eight-point lead, Hamilton has come out on top in six of the last seven races - including the most recent four.
As Hamilton has found his best form again, Ferrari have made errors with alarming regularity.
In six of the seven races this year where Vettel has failed to reach the podium - including in Germany, two weeks on from Silverstone, where he retired from pole - Hamilton has won. The Briton's ruthless efficiency continues to dog his rival, punishing each and every mistake.
And in Japan, in the last chance saloon, with no room for error, Ferrari endured a horror weekend.
Vettel qualified only eighth fastest after being sent out on intermediate tyres before switching back to slicks ahead of a downpour in Q3.
The German climbed to fourth in pursuit of Hamilton on Sunday but then made contact with Max Verstappen, with the two drivers blaming one another as Vettel slid back to 19th. In the circumstances, a sixth-placed finish represented a solid return.
But once more, it is too late for excuses. Vettel surely will not catch Hamilton; Ferrari again look to be no match for four-time defending champions Mercedes.
Given the rest of the grid will reshuffle come the end of the year, with Ferrari among those to change their driving line-up, few would bet against the ever-consistent Mercedes dominating again in 2019.
The German outfit have strolled to the title even without Bottas recording a single win.
Ferrari may have been frustrated by Verstappen's role in this latest farce - he hindered Kimi Raikkonen, too - but they have been outclassed all year long and must find a response fast before another season of masterful Mercedes racing is upon us.
23 de enero 2019
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22 de enero 2019
|Usain Bolt calls time on football career|
|Otamendi not happy at Man City, says Guardiola|
|Workaholic Woods learning to rest as he prepares for 2019 debut|
|Henry´s Monaco dumped out of Coupe de France|
|Qatar can win Asian Cup, says Sanchez|
|Tim Howard to retire following 2019 MLS season|
|Koscielny backs Bellerin to return from injury ´stronger than before´|
|Chiefs fire DC Bob Sutton after AFC Championship loss to Patriots|
|Reyes returns to Spain with second-tier strugglers Extremadura|
|Emiliano Sala: Profile of Cardiff City striker missing after joining from Nantes|
|Messi rested for Sevilla trip, Boateng set for debut|
|Nuno fined over pitch celebration in Leicester win|
|Nadal unfazed by another Next Gen opponent in Tsitsipas|
|Ulster hand lifetime ban to spectator after Zebo abuse|
|Phehlukwayo´s career-best day inspires Proteas against Pakistan|
|Bournemouth pounce for Brentford´s Mepham|
|You say all signings are controversial – Valverde defends Boateng arrival|
|Search for missing Sala plane suspended|
|Kohli and Williamson display mutual respect as India and Black Caps prepare for battle|
|Qatar 1 Iraq 0: Al Rawi free-kick books quarter-final spot|
|Ba joins Adebayor and Robinho at Istanbul Basaksehir|
|BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham´s Alli out until March with hamstring injury|
|Fit-again Joseph added to England squad|
|It is very, very serious for us - Tuchel wants midfielder in January window|
|Lakers expect Rajon Rondo back Thursday as LeBron James continues rehab|
|Atletico Madrid boosted as Koke thigh injury revealed to be minor|
|South Korea 2 Bahrain 1 (after extra time): Kim Jin-su seals quarter-final spot|
|AC Milan confirm Zapata thigh injury|
|I miss him a lot - Guardiola confirms ´clever´ Mendy back in Man City squad|
|Tiafoe wants LeBron meeting after run to Australian Open quarters|
|Cardiff continue to ´pray´ for Sala|
|West Ham fined over Burnley clash chaos|
|Knicks star Enes Kanter frustrated by reduced role|
|Kvitova getting back to her best, says Barty|
|Kvitova revels in first semi of ´second career´|
|Messi´s the best player in every world – Boateng dismisses past Real Madrid comments|
|Thunder frustrations continue against Renegades|
|Alonso vows to clear name in tax fraud case|
|Classy Nadal downs Tiafoe to set up Tsitsipas semi|
|Hoedt leaves Southampton for Celta Vigo on loan|
|Melbourne City 4 Western Sydney Wanderers 3: Hosts edge thriller with two goals in last six minutes|
|Wilder won´t even pick up the phone - Hearn not hopeful of AJ bout|
|Sala was on board missing plane, say French authorities|
|Arsenal´s Bellerin out for season with ACL rupture|
|Gatland waiting on ´concrete´ offers|
|Ronaldo accepts prison sentence and €18.8m fine for tax fraud|
|Tsitsipas: It was vital to back up Federer win|
|Awesome Kvitova ends Barty´s home run in Melbourne|
|CA rejects Thunder appeal for full points in abandoned Heat clash|
|Emiliano Sala: Concerns grow for Cardiff striker after plane goes missing|
|Harden unimpressed with refs in Rockets´ 76ers disappointment|
|Ronaldo arrives for sentencing in tax fraud case|
|Record-breaking evening ´one of those nights´ for Warriors star Thompson|
|Hazard still interested in Real Madrid but won´t rule out Chelsea stay|
|Collins moves past Pavlyuchenkova, into Australian Open semis|
|Kohli makes history with ICC awards sweep|
|Thompson sets NBA record with 10 straight made three-pointers to open game|
|76ers hand Rockets largest loss of season, Harden scores 37 points|
|Tsitsipas overcomes Bautista Agut to continue Aus Open run|
|Barcelona move a ´dream come true´ for Boateng|