Lewis Hamilton conceded strategy for the Belgian Grand Prix would be "difficult" for Mercedes after Valtteri Bottas could only qualify eighth.
The championship leader qualified third in difficult conditions at Spa-Francorchamps with rival Max Verstappen on pole and his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez seventh.
Bottas' struggles are compounded by the fact he will serve a five-place penalty that for now drops him to 13th, but with his final placement to be determined when news on the state of Lando Norris' McLaren is released following his Q3 crash.
Bottas' struggles were further highlighted by George Russell's lap for Williams that was good enough for an astonishing second on the grid.
"If it is like this tomorrow it is going to be tricky," said Hamilton. "There is this balance of straight-line speed against that mid-section downforce.
"We tried to find the best balance possible and maybe it is not the best for today but we will see tomorrow exactly how good it is.
"Otherwise, I am grateful for the team for keeping their cool and tomorrow is another day. Hopefully, we have better weather."
Reflecting on Bottas, Hamilton added: "I don't really know what happened with Valtteri but unfortunate because I think they have Red Bulls not too far away.
"That is going to make it a little bit harder in terms of strategy because I think Valtteri has a penalty also.
"We will do everything we can and as I said, tomorrow is another day. I hope it is not crazy rain like this but interchangeable could be fun."
Hamilton, who was over a second slower than Verstappen in final practice, added: "It has been a very difficult day for everyone and I have just tried to stay positive, focused and calm.
"Well done to Max, he did a great job right at the end. My first lap was really good, the second I just struggled a little bit. Also a great job by George, that's fantastic."