Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has claimed seeing his cars five seconds off the pace in Friday practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix made him 'want to strangle himself'.
George Russell's lap time of one minute 34.262secs was only good enough for 10th in the day's sole practice session, 4.8s slower than Charles Leclerc for Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton was even further back in 18th.
In qualifying, Russell and Hamilton were 11th and 13th, the first time Mercedes has failed to get a car into Q3 for almost 10 years.
Although circumstances conspired against the duo in Q2, it appeared as if the W13 lacked the pace anyway to get either driver into the top-10 shoot-out on merit.
Asked before qualifying how different it was rallying the troops in adversity rather than leading at the front after eight years of dominance, Wolff told Sky Sports F1: "I like getting it wrong because that means you learn so much more.
"Obviously, it is painful whilst you are in the moment. Certainly, when I see our car pounding around five seconds off the pace you want to strangle yourself.
"As a matter of fact, I enjoy the challenge and I enjoy being bad because over the long run in these regulations we will be good."
Wolff - Sprint makes Mercedes issues "worse"
The first sprint of the season means a revamped weekend schedule with qualifying on Friday, the 100km sprint on Saturday and then the grand prix on Sunday.
On adapting to the format, Wolff explained: "Considering our situation, where we are with the car, that [the lack of practice] makes it worse.
"There is nothing you can really try, you can't bring any upgrades because it is too short.
"We have taken some weight out, we don't know if taking the weight out actually increases the porpoising so it is literally exploring on the job.
"Not at all how we have done Formula 1 before but it is our own doing."