Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has lamented the "monumental mistake" that left the team fighting for points at the Dutch Grand Prix.
George Russell started third on the grid but dropped to 18th when torrential rain hit on lap one after the Silver Arrows left him out on Soft tyres, before pitting him four laps too late for the Intermediates.
Teammate Lewis Hamilton was also told to stay out and dropped down to P20 when he eventually pitted on lap four, with rivals that had made the switch lapping much faster.
Mercedes did not see this on the timing screen according to Wolff, who after Hamilton picked up sixth at Zandvoort told Speedweek: "It was a monumental mistake that we made at the beginning.
"Our car has pace and then it didn't work at all between weatherman, the drivers and the strategy. Me included."
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Mercedes failed to notice Perez lap times
Mercedes took feedback from its drivers in the opening stages but failed to notice lap times that were over 20 seconds slower than lead Intermediate runner Sergio Perez, who had pitted at the end of the first lap and made his way to the lead by lap four.
"We did not see that Perez had brought out such a gap," said Wolff.
"The weather came so fast, much faster and stronger than expected, all our predictions didn't see that. Now we have to look at it and clarify why this happened.
"We would have had a car that could have driven at the very front. But that doesn't exist in sports, it doesn't help."