Lewis Hamilton has offered a more positive response to Mercedes' performance during practice ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday.
After winning the last two races, dominantly so in Spain, the world champion knew he and the Brackley-based team would face a much more difficult task around the streets of Monte Carlo, on a circuit that better suits their rivals.
Indeed, was Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull leading the way with a gap of over half a second to Sebastian Vettel in third.
But Hamilton was able to match the Ferrari driver's pace in fourth and afterwards, said he was hopeful he could at least stay in the fight with his main title rival.
“It’s been an ok day,” he told reporters in the paddock. “We didn’t suffer any damage which is a good thing.
“I said yesterday the Red Bulls were going to be quick which they were today. As expected, we struggled a little bit more.
“The car felt good in some places, in others it felt bad, so we have got some things to work on, but we’re not completely in the dark. We’re in a much better place than we were last year.
“We’re closer to Red Bull and Ferrari than I expected, but we’re still a few tenths off."
The longest wheelbase of any car on the grid, a weakness in slow-speed corners and difficulties optimising the softer compound tyres are all reasons why Mercedes struggle on circuits like Monaco.
Last year, they resulted in arguably the German manufacturer's worst race in the hybrid era, with Hamilton starting 14th and finishing seventh while Valtteri Bottas took fourth.
The 33-year-old is hopeful though there is more to come in terms of pace.
“We’ve got some ground to cover and pick up if we want to be in the fight for the win," Lewis claimed.
“We’ve got to keep working on the set-up and try and see if we can pull out some more potential from the car.”
This weekend is also seeing the debut of the new Hypersoft tyre, a compound specifically made by Pirelli for low-grip circuits such as Monaco and the next race in Montreal.
Previously, Hamilton had suggested it was the best tyre the Italian supplier had ever made and remained a fan after practice.
“The Hypersoft felt good but it doesn’t last very long. It looks good for qualifying but could be interesting in the race,” he added.