In what appeared to be a complicated and confusing Canadian Grand Prix, tyre strategy seemed to prove the decisive factor - but in truth McLaren had it in the bag right from the start.
Red Bull always knew that Montreal would be their toughest challenge of the year so far, thanks to the 'levelling' reduction in downforce and the advantage their Mercedes rivals had with pure engine power on what is one of the season's faster circuits.
And when faced with an opposition with a fundamental advantage, there are two options: to try and stay as matched as possible and hope for a slip-up or a mistake, or to try to outwit them with an alternative strategy that might just work.
Red Bull tried to do the latter and chose to qualify (and therefore start) on the harder 'prime' rubber while McLaren opted for the softer 'option' tyre.
Red Bull's move was based on sensible analysis.
The Canadian track is notoriously challenging on tyres due to the fact it is used by normal cars during most of the year and has neither a racing surface (which would offer more grip from the tarmac than a normal road surface) nor laid rubber from other racing throughout the year, to give the high grip surface found on most racetracks.
Because of that, the tyres slide on the track surface more that normal when cornering, and that means the rubber wears quicker.
Given the temperatures seen during the early part of the weekend, McLaren's softer option tyres were expected to last just a handful of laps before degrading while the harder tyres on the Red Bulls would last longer, giving them the chance to build a gap once the McLarens had made an early stop and put them into the mix for race victory.
Unfortunately for Red Bull, temperatures for race day increased by 10 degrees Celsius and that coupled with heavy fuel tanks and a slippery track at the start, followed by reducing fuel weights and a rubbering track in the latter part, had two significant effects on the race.
The first was tyre degradation. For any type of F1 tyre, higher temperatures mean more grip but also more degradation. That meant that in the initial stint, McLaren's softer 'option' tyres went off even quicker than expected - they had to change on laps 6 and 7 rather than around lap 12 - but so too did Red Bull's 'primes' - they had to stop on laps 13 and 14 - and, most importantly, that also happened to the other lead and midfield teams.
In normal circumstances, McLaren's early stop would have probably dropped them into the middle of the pack, but because the wear on the 'primes' early in the race was so harsh they did not have that problem.
The second major factor was that the higher temperatures were working the tyres harder and making them lay more rubber down on the track as the race went on. With more rubber comes more grip, so the tyres were sliding less and therefore wearing less in the latter part of the race.
Where Mark Webber's first set of 'prime' tyres lasted for just 13 laps on the non-grippy track and heavy fuel loads in the opening stint, he was able to make the second set last 37 before having to make his final stop. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, managed 14 laps on his first set of 'primes' and, after a stint to get rid of the softer 'option' tyres, he made 43 laps on his second set of 'primes' in the final section of the race.
Red Bull decided to split their strategy and hoped that this could play into the hands of Webber, who would be able to run longer on the softer, grippier (and should be faster) 'option' tyres at the end of the race, and maybe attack.
But by this time the track had become much kinder to all tyres and the 'primes', despite being relatively old by this point, were not degrading enough to give Webber the chance to capitalise.
"When Webber came past me (early in the race) he was flat out and maybe they just didn't expect to have issues and that played into our hands," said Jenson Button.
"Even on Friday we were struggling with graining on the prime tyre, so I think we had a good understanding of what would happen with it..."
So, even if the cooler temperatures that had been seen earlier in the weekend had continued it seems Red Bull's gamble was destined not to work - and it appears McLaren had a handle on the situation long before the race got underway.
Pit stops and tyre strategy:
Hamilton SS-M-M L7, L26
Button SS-M-M L6, L27
Alonso SS-M-M L7, L28
Vettel M-SS-M L14, L27
Webber M-M-SS L13, L50
Rosberg SS-M-M L5, L27
M (prime), SS (option)