Jaws hit the floor at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Saturday evening as Lewis Hamilton had failed to make it out of Q1 for the first time since the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix. But after finishing the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix down in P10, Hamilton declared that his Mercedes team had their work cut out to get back in the fight this year.

Hamilton was pessimistic after qualifying, where he failed to make Q2 after being pushed out by the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll in Q1, as Hamilton declared his W13 “undrivable” – doubting his chances of being able to stage a recovery drive to the front, which fans have been seeing regularly from the seven-time champ over the years.

Unfortunately that pessimism proved well-founded, as Hamilton could only progress from his P15 grid slot to P10. That small climb was aided by retirements for Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso – although Hamilton was also hurt by the timing of a pit lane closure caused by the incidents of the latter two drivers.

Speaking on the radio at the end of the race, Hamilton even questioned "Is there even a point for that position?", showing how unaccustomed he was from such a low position.

“Personally, I feel like I maximised everything,” said Hamilton at the end of the evening. “I don’t know if we did as a team, but it is what it is. Move on."

Asked, meanwhile, what the learnings had been from this weekend, Hamilton replied: “The learnings are there that we are quite a bit off pace-wise, and we’ve got a lot of work to do.You always want to take the positives from a difficult situation, but we are not here to settle for that,” he added. “We can’t walk away being pleased with that.”

Mercedes now sit second in the constructors’ standings, just one point ahead of rivals Red Bull, but a full 40 behind Ferrari.