Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has conceded the team wasn't "adaptive" to circumstances in São Paulo Grand Prix qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will line up fifth and sixth on the grid after failing to find the optimum track time as a storm rolled over the Interlagos circuit during Q3.
Max Verstappen, who secured pole position, was at the front of the field followed by Charles Leclerc's Ferrari and Aston Martin duo Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, who all secured top-four spots.
The session was red flagged and brought to a premature end as heavy winds, rain, thunder and lightning hit the circuit.
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Verstappen, Stroll and Alonso 'stormed away'
"I think you see how marginal the differences are in terms of out laps and temperatures," Wolff told Sky Sports F1 when addressing the team's performance.
"We weren't adaptive enough, so the Aston Martins stormed away, Max straight out of the garage, with warm tyres, also stormed away and they were the quickest cars.
"We were a second - or eight-tenths - off the previous time, and it shows what we should have done.
"I think between P1 and P8, everything is possible. [McLaren] got it [the decision] even worse than us."