"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.
|Butler booed by Timberwolves fans during introductions|
|Pochettino: Dier´s Ramos tackle highlighted Spurs´ attitude|
|Man City working on new deal for Sane – Guardiola|
|Golden Knights sign RW Tuch to seven-year extension|
|Bryant explains how Lakers could beat Warriors|
|Finals hopefuls Isner, Fognini into Stockholm semis|
|Browns trade running back Hyde to Jaguars|
|Mourinho: I´d love to have Hazard at Manchester United|
|Hamilton´s title chances enhanced by Vettel´s grid penalty|
|Deja vu for Enisei as La Rochelle inflict another thrashing|
|Five-star Jovic makes Bundesliga history|
|Liverpool´s scoring slump no concern for cautious Klopp|
|He´s the Special One - Sarri insists he is not on Mourinho´s level yet|
|Second-half blitz guides Leicester to European success|
|Sheffield Wednesday 1 Middlesbrough 2: Besic, Assombalonga see off Owls|
|Goerges rallies to reach Luxembourg Open final, Jabeur makes history|
|Howe: Transfer speculation will not disrupt Ake|
|´Do we really want opera every night?´ - Klopp not changing Nations League view|
|Vile and abhorrent – Chelsea´s Carney responds to online abuse|
|Giants WR Beckham Jr. explains why he might cramp up: ´I really don´t like water´|
|Man City pay training-pitch tribute to Joe Hart|
|Neymar to be rested as Tuchel rubbishes Ballon d´Or concerns|
|Sarri ´not interested´ in Christensen father´s quit threat|
|Cardinals fire offensive coordinator McCoy after 1-6 start|
|Neymar return unlikely, but anything can happen – Valverde|
|Bairstow a doubt for fourth ODI|
|Manchester United fined for late arrival and delayed kick-off against Valencia|
|Australia-Pakistan chat not ´especially polite´ - Sarfraz|
|Pogba relishing ´pressure game´ against in-form Hazard|
|Don´t bet on Cardiff survival, warns Warnock|
|Buffon enjoying Tuchel´s methods at PSG|
|RIP to Wimbledon epics! Isner feels like The Undertaker following final-set tie-break rule|
|Sevilla performance sealed Bernat´s Bayern exit - Hoeness|
|Keita set to miss out as Liverpool monitor injured stars|
|He didn´t want to be here – Guardiola doubts Sancho will return to Manchester City|
|Sarri: Manchester United are the best in the Premier League|
|Mourinho salutes ´brave´ Shaw for ´best possible´ response to criticism|
|No Ballon d´Or distractions for Griezmann, insists Simeone|
|Wigan stand by Hardaker as full-back prepares to undergo rehabilitation|
|Barcelona deny Neymar talk|
|Hazard can win the Ballon d´Or as a Chelsea player, insists Sarri|
|De Bruyne in contention to start in Manchester City´s clash with Burnley|
|Neymar needs to mature to reach Messi levels - Xavi|
|We have a hell of a lot to do - Paine slams Australia batting|
|Kerber and Osaka to meet at WTA Finals|
|Lorenzo out of Japanese MotoGP|
|Real Madrid handed Africa trip in Copa del Rey|
|Allegri: Ronaldo has sharpened Juventus focus|
|No Wade in Wasps squad amid NFL reports|
|Rooney: Five of us controlled Man United dressing room|
|Bayern bosses launch scathing attack on ´disrespectful´ media|
|Saints lock in Lawes to new deal|
|Adelaide United 1 Sydney 1: Debutant Le Fondre rescues a point|
|Madrid can´t look back, only forward - Lopetegui confident of revival|
|Wimbledon to introduce final-set tie-breaks|
|Abbas inspires Pakistan to series victory|
|Madrid boss Lopetegui hopeful on Bale availability|
|Mood is positive at Bayern, insists under-pressure Kovac|
|LeBron offers food for thought after losing Lakers debut|
|Bolt future not an immediate concern for Mariners|
|Hazard: I could finish my career at Chelsea|
|Buffon hoping to avoid Champions League final against Juventus|
|Wilshere not ready for West Ham return|
|Chelsea v Manchester United: Hazard better under Sarri than he ever was with Mourinho|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Khawaja suffers meniscal tear, doubt for India series|
|Babbel: Klopp must win trophies now at Liverpool|
|LeBron makes spectacular start on Lakers debut, but LA fall to Trail Blazers|
|Broncos thrash Cardinals to end losing streak|
|Price leads Red Sox past Astros and into World Series|