Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff insisted Lewis Hamilton's disappointing Russian Grand Prix qualifying was "not a catastrophe" given the opportunities available.
At the Sochi Autodrom, starting from the second row of the grid can prove beneficial due to the slipstreaming effect along the 890-metre run into the first braking zone at turn two.
Despite Hamilton's disappointment at failing to secure pole position for a race in which F1 title rival Max Verstappen starts at the back, Wolff was determined to take the positives.
“I think that P4 is maybe not the worst of starting positions for Lewis with a quick car in a straight line and the tow is worth a lot," said Wolff.
“Probably the best position to start from is P3. We saw that last year and in the years before so P4 is not a catastrophe. On the contrary, it may even give opportunities.
“As for Valtteri [Bottas in seventh], we are still thinking about possible strategic decisions, on what the best and quickest race strategy could be for him.”
Russell leading would be no surprise
Ahead of Hamilton are a top three of McLaren's Lando Norris, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and Hamilton's 2022 Mercedes team-mate George Russell in his Williams.
After declaring third as the best place from which to start in Russia, Wolff was asked about Russell's chances for the race.
“I would not be surprised if George is leading the race after turn three and that would be good fun to watch," added Wolff.
“As long as Lewis can make up positions, we would have the present and the future running in P1 and two.
“But joking aside, he has shown strong performance. He took massive risks by being the first one to pit for softs but equally, where he was, probably qualifying eighth or ninth, that was the right thing to do from Williams’ side and George’s side."