Friday's free practice at the Hungaroring offered little in the way of Mercedes domination seen in past years.
Lewis Hamilton was only fifth fastest at the end of the afternoon session. Valtteri Bottas was one place further back and a full second off pace setter Sebastian Vettel's time.
While there was no sense of panic in the pits, there was a general acceptance that Mercedes had an awful lot of catch up to do overnight if they wanted to challenge for victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"It has been a relatively normal day," insisted Hamilton. "As we expected, the Ferraris and the Red Bulls were quite quick and had a little bit more pace than us, so we've got some work to do tonight.
"This is a tricky circuit and the tyres are overheating; looking after the rear tyres is the biggest issue," he noted.
"We will do our debrief now and dig deep to try and figure out what changes we make between now and tomorrow. I hope we're able to find something tonight, and that tomorrow is dry so we can test whatever changes we make overnight."
"Today was not an easy day," was the verdict on Bottas' side of the garage. "The car was difficult to drive and I struggled to get laps together, especially in FP1.
"We managed to improve the set-up for FP2," Bottas continued. "But there's still more work to do. This is a difficult circuit, you need to have a well-balanced car in order to get all the corners right and we need to get the car more stable.
"It is difficult to overtake here, so track position is very important and the less stops you can do is always going to be better.
"Red Bull and Ferrari are as quick as we expected; I think it's going to be very close," he added.
"Budapest always presents a real challenge to the car and driver," commented Mercedes technical director James Allison.
"Although we managed to improve the car across the sessions, especially with Valtteri, there's more to be done ahead of tomorrow if we want to come home from this weekend with a good result.
"We are busy working this evening to try to make sure that we can get the car in good shape for qualifying," he said.
"[We will also be] making sure that we have decent long run pace on Sunday, when it's expected to be very hot indeed.