Mercedes aren’t quick enough. That was Lewis Hamilton’s verdict after the Silver Arrows finished second practice in Azerbaijan behind both Red Bulls and one Ferrari.
Despite Valtteri Bottas’ slender advantage in FP1, second practice saw Daniel Ricciardo narrowly edge Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari - with Hamilton finishing the two sessions in fourth and fifth respectively.
And the Brit is fully aware of the issues Mercedes face to secure their first Grand Prix victory of the season in Baku, and is adamant that plenty of work needs to be done in their quest for success.
Red Bull are definitely quite a bit ahead of us...
Lewis Hamilton on Mercedes' Baku pace
"It’s been a smooth day. We got through everything we needed, I did all the laps [we aimed for] and [didn't make] many mistakes," he said.
"[We got] lots of information but we are not quick enough. Red Bull are definitely quite a bit ahead and I couldn’t match their time today so we have some work to do."
So, who are Mercedes’ biggest rivals heading into Saturday’s final practice session and qualifying? Hamilton has no doubt that Ferrari and Red Bull both provide huge challenges.
"They are both currently ahead, as they were in the last race but more so today – Red Bull seem to have picked up quite a bit of pace," he added.
"I’m hoping overnight [we can make changes] – I’m going to be knocking on the doors of the engineers and pushing them. Yeah… I hope I can get them to make some changes."
Bottas, who finished the second session in fourth, is also eyeing an immediate improvement after finding his W09 hard to drive thus far.
"Practice one was, I thought, better than the second practice. In FP2 we were missing a bit of pace compared to Ferrari and Red Bull.
"We are still have work to do with the balance, it's not an easy car to drive at the moment but at times it is quick. [There is] plenty of work to do."
Mercedes, however, will take heart from their qualifying exploits last year, which saw pole-sitter Hamilton and Bottas start on the front row. The duo will be hoping for a similar revival tomorrow.