The Silver Arrows will start Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix from the third row of the grid, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas P5 and P6 in a challenging Qualifying.
'I gave it everything today'
Lewis was six tenths of a second shy of the pacesetting Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in the final shootout, as Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport struggled to match the red cars and the two Red Bulls around the twisty Marina Bay Street Circuit.
"Every year it has been relatively difficult for us in Singapore, so we knew that we would come here and it would be tricky," said Lewis. "I thought Red Bull would be as quick as they were, but I didn't anticipate Ferrari to be that strong.
"I gave it everything today but I could not get any more out of the car, I squeezed it until it was dry. There are no points for today, so we will focus on doing the best job we can tomorrow and remain hopeful. But this is a horrible track for overtaking; it will be a long race.
"I will have to try and see if I can get a good start to pick off at least one car. Sebastian has Verstappen next to him, so anything can happen at the start."
'So far, it's been a difficult weekend for us'
Valtteri ended a difficult session almost seven tenths of a second back from Lewis, after struggling once again with setup.
"So far, it's been a difficult weekend for us," said Valtteri. "We're clearly third quickest around here, that's just not enough.
"We've been chasing the setup of the car and made big changes yesterday and today, but we still haven't found the optimal setup. You can see it in the lap times that I can't really drive the car with the setup that we've got.
"We were a bit surprised by how big the gaps to Red Bull and Ferrari are. Two weeks ago, we had a great weekend in Monza and now we are really struggling.
"The result today highlights that we still have issues producing enough downforce and mechanical grip on a track like this; it's an area we clearly need to work on.
"We know our pace alone isn't enough to score a podium tomorrow, so we need a clean race, a good strategy and bit of luck as well."
'Days like this are the tough ones'
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff responded to a challenging day with a rallying call to take every possible opportunity on Sunday.
"Days like this are the tough ones," said Toto. "We know that our car is not at its best on these tight circuits and Lewis extracted the maximum today from the package we had.
"It looked close at certain stages of the session, and we kept hoping for a little bit more, but it's never nice to see a gap like that in black and white on the timing screens.
"The end result, with three cars between Sebastian and Lewis, obviously makes the situation even more difficult; likewise, Valtteri has been some way off Lewis this weekend, never really feeling confident with the car, and we need to dig down into why that is.
"The challenge now is simple: to extract the maximum possible from tomorrow's race, grabbing every opportunity that comes our way. It will be a long, tough race for everybody."
'That was a very disappointing qualifying session'
With Red Bull and Ferrari looking strong, Silver Arrows Technical Director James Allison expects race day to be a case of damage limitation.
"That was a very disappointing qualifying session with both cars," said James. "We knew this would be a tough weekend for us but we had nevertheless hoped for better.
"It was clear that we didn't have the pace to compete for pole today. Now, we have to put this result behind us and start to think about how we can limit the damage tomorrow, or perhaps better still make the most of the opportunities this track routinely creates on race day."