Lewis Hamilton believes that tyres have become more crucial than ever for Mercedes, as they continue to understand how to get the most from the Pirelli rubber.
Hamilton struggled to get to grips with his W12 in Monaco and appeared to have similar problems in the early phase of the Azerbaijan GP weekend due to the tyres whereas Red Bull have fared better, particularly on the softer rubber.
"I think the tyres are clearly playing a huge role, maybe more than than ever before," Hamilton told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.
"There's an interestingly very narrow working window and getting the most out of the tyres is always the case each year.
"Getting the most out of them for a single lap but then also having the balance to be able to go the distance with actual pace is always massively challenging.
"Thermal degradation is a constant issue. It has been for many, many years so we're getting some places where the aero package is not perfectly great for the tyres.
"It's not ideal for maybe a race run. Or it might be ideal for the race, but not for a single lap. We're finding that much harder this year to find the perfect balance between the two. But that's the great challenge that we're faced with."
Hamilton remains just four points behind championship leader Max Verstappen despite a poor weekend in Monaco and a dramatic mistake in Baku when he locked up on the standing start restart due to an error when he flicked the 'magic' button on his steering wheel.
Despite the difficulties, Hamilton remains confident in his team but was not willing to make Mercedes favourites for the French GP.
"The last two races have definitely been really difficult for us as a team," said Hamilton. "It's definitely been challenging, but we've learned a lot.
"We continue to strive for perfection, we continue to unite and there's not really a lot we can't do when we are together and united.
"I'm definitely looking forward to getting back onto a track where we probably won't be as affected as with tyre temperatures, for example.
"Paul Ricard has been good for us in the past here but I anticipate a tough weekend here naturally. Obviously, the Red Bulls have shown some serious pace over the previous races, as well as the more conventional tracks such as Barcelona."