Had the last lap of November's season ending Brazilian grand prix played out differently, it could have had a major effect on the psychology and career of Lewis Hamilton, according to seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.
As it turned out, a struggling Timo Glock ceded position to the 23-year-old Briton, and Hamilton was declared the winner of the drivers' title by one point over Schumacher's former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa.
But after the way Hamilton's first title bid failed at the last hurdle in 2007, another similar blow might have devastatingly affected the McLaren driver, Schumacher believes.
"Losing this year would have hurt him badly," the German, to turn 40 on Saturday, said in an interview with Italy's La Repubblica newspaper.
"One year it is an anecdote, but two in a row is something statistical," he said.
"If he had lost his championship dream again, and again in the last race, it would be like he is condemned: eternally without the prize."
In November, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo mischievously jibed that, by losing the drivers' title, Ferrari saved Hamilton "from being sent to the psychiatric ward".
Schumacher, still an advisor to the Maranello based team, told Repubblica that the key to his record seven championships was "consistency and continuity".