It may just have been the greatest PR coup in Formula 1 history, as the press was left speculating during the humdrum off-season. Or, it might have been a genuine case of deadlocked negotiations marred by games of epic brinkmanship.
But whatever the case may be, a ponderous 62 days after 2020's last race (and perilously close to the start of pre-season testing early in March), Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have finally found common ground to ensure the retention of the seven-time world champion's services in 2021. Curiously, though, for just one year.
Although much of the hype surrounding the circumstances that had allegedly prevented pens from being put to paper any earlier - such as a veto by Hamilton of his choice of team mate or a demand for a larger share of the team's revenue - being dispelled as concrete facts have finally emerged, the duration of the contract suggests several other kinks that cannot be ignored.