Sebastian Vettel's victory in Monza left his rivals admitting the fight for the drivers' title is now over for this year - but with six races still remaining there is still good reason to fight hard at the front.
Vettel's haul of 284 points puts him 112 points clear of Fernando Alonso, who moved into second place with a podium finish at Monza, and if the Red Bull driver's form continues the title could be tied up within a couple of races.
Behind him, the battle for second has been closely fought and there are four drivers covered by just 14 points with Alonso on 172, Jenson Button and Mark Webber tied for third on 167 after the Australian crashed out at Monza, and Lewis Hamilton fifth on 158.
But aside from Red Bull confirming their long-expected double title triumph, the championship is no longer the focus for anyone at the front of the grid - it is now all about individual victories and, perhaps more importantly, gaining benefits for 2012 by ending the 2011 season at full steam.
In the closing stages of the season it would be typical for teams to move focus to next year's car - but not so this season.
The continuity of the F1 regulations for 2012, with the ban on blown diffusers the only major change, means there are plenty of developments that can be progressed this year that will remain relevant to next season, including front and rear wing aero packages and mechanical set-up tweaks. So, with limited testing available, teams are looking to make the most of the remaining races from a development perspective.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has declared the team on the attack "all the way to Brazil" to maintain momentum for 2012, while McLaren will be bringing another set of updates to the next race in Singapore as they look to continue to gain more knowledge from their 2011 machine.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali has also stated he will not shift focus to 2012 too early this year - admitting that tactic was a mistake he made in the past - but in a different tack, declared even before Monza, his team's focus is not so much on car development as on developing strong unity within the track personnel in a racing environment.
Vettel has put this season's success at Red Bull down to an improvement in teamwork, and that has been apparent with a far more gelled team and fewer mistakes than last year. Domenicali is aiming to develop a similar feel at Ferrari and sees the rest of this season as the perfect opportunity to make that happen.
On top of that, all the teams will also be trying to get as much data as possible on how the Pirelli tyres behave at the remaining circuits in all different conditions, as that will be of significant benefit when it comes to pre-race planning for next year. Not to mention the challenge of a new circuit, when the teams head to India.
While the focus for the rest of the season is fixed on the long-term, however, there are still four determined racing drivers eager to secure more race victories and second in the championship.
Of those, Webber is the only one still waiting for a win in 2011, but despite struggles on the new tyres he has still achieved seven podium finishes (the same number as he had this time last year, although in 2010 three of those were victories) and he is just starting to get closer to his team-mate.
The Australian has not enjoyed being in the shadows of Vettel, who has managed to get the best out of the Red Bull car, but he should still be the best bet for second spot as he has the fastest car on the grid (if he can get it working well) and once Vettel secures the title the team would be sensible to focus their efforts on Webber - although that assistance depends on whether Vettel will play ball!
Most of the remaining races should suit Red Bull - particularly as they have just shown at Monza that they can now handle even their supposed bogey tracks - but Ferrari showed good form in Singapore last year and in Brazil in the past and Alonso has the best form of the four drivers behind Vettel with 85 points from the last five races compared to Hamilton's 61, while Webber and Button both collected 58 each.
There is plenty still to play for, then, but whoever ultimately takes the runner-up spot, the true winner of the 'race for second place' may only be seen at the start of 2012.