Both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ended FP2 outside of the top ten.

Hamilton was a second shy of Sergio Perez’s top time in 11th, while Bottas was a further second down in 16th.

The seven-time champion felt he was driving well on Friday in Baku but the pace simply wasn’t there for Mercedes.

“Honestly I generally had a really good day, I felt it was clean, I got all the laps we needed, was not really any mistakes, I had one lock up in p1, but just slow!” Hamilton said. “But in general I feel like I’m driving well, the car felt better in p1, and this one.., just no more time in it.

“Yeah, we’re definitely quite a chunk down and I think everyone will be scratching their heads trying to figure out, and looking into the data, how we can improve. The long run was better, but yeah.”

Hamilton had no explanation for Mercedes' lack of pace in Baku.

“Well it didn’t feel good in this session, just in general I was pushing, I was on the limit, but the car is limited,” Hamilton added. “There’s areas that I should just be quicker but there’s no more grip.

“So, yeah. But we’ll work at it, of course, it’s definitely… it’s not easy to be out of the top 10 in pacer when we’ve had pace in other places, but yeah, I don’t really know we’re why where we are.”

Bottas described his day as “very, very tricky”.

“Yes, I think a little bit [tricky] is not the right word, it was very, very tricky for us today and we were really lacking pace,” Bottas explained. “It feels it’s just lack of overall grip, the balance is not that far off, OK the car is maybe a little bit unpredictable, it just feels like it’s lacking grp and sliding around. Yes, I think it’s going to be a long night tonight.”