Lewis Hamilton has conceded he is "grateful" to have experienced an improved qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix but insisted Mercedes must "keep our heads down" to close in on Red Bull and Ferrari.
The seven-time F1 champion survived yet another Q1 elimination scare at the Miami International Autodrome before eventually securing sixth on the starting grid.
Hamilton was eliminated in Q2 most recently at Imola after previously failing to advance from the first session in Saudi Arabia.
Despite finishing almost a second slower than polesitter Charles Leclerc, the Mercedes driver said: "It was a much better qualifying session than the last three races so I am grateful for that to be honest and I take it.
"We just keep working on it. So much amazing work is going on in the background, everyone is working so hard. Unfortunately, I don't think we are necessarily moving forward at the rate we would like to.
"The gap is similar to the beginning of the year, we just have to keep our heads down, keep working, keep focused and eventually we will get there."
Hamilton has "no idea" of Mercedes race pace
Mercedes' race pace has largely been the team's saving grace so far this season with Hamilton's team-mate George Russell the only driver to have finished in the top five at all four races.
But asked about his race prospects in Miami, Hamilton replied: "Difficult to say.
"It has felt generally better this weekend but today, I was able to get the tyres into a better place, it was feeling a bit better in qualifying.
"The race pace yesterday, I have no idea where we were."