If George Russell's cameo drive for Mercedes in Bahrain at the end of 2020 is anything to go by, then the prospect of him stepping up into the full-time race seat this year is one he is set to take in his stride.
On that particular weekend 15 months ago, when Lewis Hamilton was laid low with Covid-19, Russell sent a message he was ready then to be propelled into the big time. Around the Outer Loop of the Sakhir International Circuit that was being used for the first time, Russell delivered an extraordinary performance in qualifying to finish on the front row in Hamilton's car that had proven to be an uncomfortable fit, just 0.026 seconds behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
But for a cruel twist of pit-stop drama and the even more bitter heartache of a late puncture, Russell would have won the race. The learning curve was steep that weekend, on all levels – technically, physically and emotionally.
Around that moment of so near yet so far, Russell has spent 59 grands prix over three years plying his trade in a Williams that for the most part has been a dog to drive.
There were odd moments of glory last year, such as another phenomenal qualifying display ahead of a rain-lashed Belgian Grand Prix that ran for a couple of laps behind the safety car before ultimately being abandoned, albeit allowing Russell to savour the runner-up spot. The norm, however, saw Russell scrabble around at the back of the grid, often involved in a private battle with his now-former Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi. When the call came from Mercedes last year for Russell to replace Valtteri Bottas from this season, there was little surprise.
Now it is time for Russell to step into the harshest of spotlights where he will be expected to perform from the word go, particularly given the clean sheet of paper all teams are operating with for this season due to the change to the aerodynamic regulations.
Russell insists, though, he feels "absolutely fine" with regard to the scrutiny he is about to be subjected to.
“It's not something I ever shy away from and often, when the helmet’s on, you forget about everything else," said Russell. "Obviously, I was fortunate to have the experience with Mercedes [in Bahrain], to be honest.
“Lining up on the grid on the front row when the helmet was on, it didn't even cross my mind that I was going into turn one fighting for a lead because when the helmet's on you’ve got one vision, which is to go as fast as possible and attack the car ahead and keep the cars behind.
“Even when I was leading, it felt like just another race to me. There was no additional pressure within when I was driving because that's what I was there to do.”
One of the striking aspects about Russell, when you speak to him, is his level of maturity and understanding given his age. It is a case of an old head on young shoulders.
The combination of his three seasons with Williams and that one race with Mercedes, allied to him being a part of the latter's junior programme before joining the former, could not have provided him with a better grounding for now moving up into the F1's 'big league' and what you would expect will again be a front-running car.
"I think one big learning is that every car is different," assessed Russell. "What actually held me back in the Mercedes were the limitations I had with Williams.
"In a Williams, I really struggled to brake late and turn the steering wheel at the same time and combine braking into a corner because the car wouldn't be able to handle it.
"It'd often lock a tyre or lose a rear. You'd find yourself having to brake a bit earlier to try and keep the car under control as you approach the corner.
“Whereas the Mercedes was so robust, you could afford to brake so late and carry speed into the corner and be aggressive. That took me time to understand.
“It was only until probably halfway through the race that I was able to match Valtteri in that phase of the corner. It was actually at turn one. Every lap, I was always losing a tenth and a half to him just because I didn't know a Formula 1 car was capable of that.
"Then, obviously, I jumped back to the Williams knowing I couldn't drive it as I drove the Mercedes.
“That was a real great experience. Especially when you look at other teams, other cars. Often you just need to look at yourself, what can I do to improve my driving and the car?
“Then finally learning to deal with a loss or a victory. That was the first time in my Formula 1 career where I felt that pain of losing out on a victory and trying to bounce back from that. I'm sure it won't be the last time.
“To be honest, I look back on Bahrain now with no frustration or no hard feelings. It's something that will mould me into a stronger driver.”
The strength of that test is about to be realised this season, and from everything we have witnessed so far, it is one Russell appears set to pass with flying colours.