Lewis Hamilton survived a pulsating battle with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to clinch back-to-back victories for the first time in four years.
Despite all the negativity that has swirled around Formula One this season, what unfolded at the Bahrain International Circuit was a humdinger of a race.
Mercedes were utterly dominant, crushing their rivals into the desert sand that surrounds what is now an illuminated citadel of speed as the track staged its first night race to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
But spectators could barely look away given the wheel-to-wheel action that unfolded from lap to lap, the event in stark contrast to that a week ago in Malaysia which handed the dissenters ammunition to further criticise.
Come the conclusion, just a second separated Hamilton and Rosberg, the former taking the chequered flag for the 24th time in his F1 career, while for Mercedes it was a heart-stopping second successive one-two.
After clinching his first victory in Bahrain, Hamilton said: “I’m so grateful for the team to help me claim this win.
“It was exciting. Nico drove fantastically well, very fair, and it was hard to keep him behind at the end. I was on a knife edge the whole time.
“It was a relief when I crossed the line.”
Despite the fact he was runner-up for the second consecutive race, with the gap between him and Hamilton now just 11 points, Rosberg expressed sentiments for anybody who had watched the race.
“I strongly dislike coming second to Lewis, but on the other hand that was the most exciting race I’ve ever had in my career,” said Rosberg.
“Today was a great day for the sport, and hopefully you had a lot of fun watching on television.”
Behind the duo, there were overtakes and close-shaves galore, with plenty of enthralling moments to knock the critics into a cocked hat.
Force India’s Sergio Perez emerged the best of the rest, ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian himself dicing with team-mate Sebastian Vettel over the closing laps.
The reigning world champion had to settle for sixth behind the second Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, with Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas seventh and eighth.
Di Montezemolo would not have been happy with his team’s ninth and 10th places for Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.
Jenson Button in his MCLaren retired two laps from home.