Lewis Hamilton fell silent on the radio following the Miami Grand Prix before admitting Mercedes are no closer to propelling him back to the front.
Hamilton started sixth and finished in the same position after he fell behind team-mate George Russell in the closing stages of Formula One’s first visit to Florida.
Russell was able to take advantage of a late safety car period to stop for fresh rubber and pass his team-mate.
Hamilton is already 68 points behind championship leader Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and 23 points adrift of Russell, who has beaten him at the last four grands prix.
“OK, Lewis, well done, mate, so that’s P6,” said Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington at the chequered flag.
“Good job today, mate. Just lucked-out again with that safety car.”
Hamilton did not respond to Bonnington’s radio messages as he drove back to the pits.
Mercedes brought a number of updates to their under-performing machine in Miami.
But although Russell provided some hope when he finished fastest in second practice, the Silver Arrows remain one-second-a-lap slower than both Ferrari and Red Bull.
Hamilton was asked if he felt his team were any closer to finding a resolution to their early-season woes.
“Not at the moment, no,” he replied. “We have the same speed as we did at the first race.
“It is a different perspective and a different point of view this season. We always try to go forward, but it is quite difficult when you are not really going forward.
“It is what it is and it is an experience, that’s for sure.”
Mercedes are set to bring further new parts to the Spanish Grand Prix a week on Sunday, but a quick-fix is growing increasingly unlikely.
“We have been flying in the fog since the beginning,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
“It is clear there is potential in the car and it is fast but we just don’t understand how to unlock that potential.
“It is a car that is super-difficult to drive and it is on the edge, dipping in and out of the performance window, more out than in, and dissecting the data is just a painful process because it takes a long time.
“Also, the data sometimes doesn’t show what the drivers tell us, and they have their hands full with a car that is not comfortable, nice or predictable to drive.
“The data doesn’t show these big swings in performance and we have not had this situation before where what we see on screen doesn’t correlate to how the driver feels – and that is making it even more difficult for us.”