If Mercedes was hoping to come to Baku and launch its recovery during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, Friday practice will have come as a rude awakening. If anything, Mercedes is worse off than it was when it was defeated in China two weeks ago and both Red Bull and Ferrari look to have a decisive advantage.
The Mercedes still shows glimpses of prodigious underlying speed. But if you can't unleash that consistently, be it over a single qualifying lap or a full race stint, then it counts for nothing. Baku is throwing up many of the challenges Mercedes has fallen short in facing so far this year - and there's no sign yet things are going to get any better.
"They are both currently ahead still as they were in the last race but more so today," said Lewis Hamilton of Red Bull and Ferrari after a difficult day - adding that he was going to be banging on the door of the engineers' room to find a way to turn things around.