Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that Mercedes has no answer to the powertrain that Ferrari can develop in qualifications.
Following Mercedes' excellent form in Friday's free practice, Ferrari shifted to higher gear in qualifying at Suzuki, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc occupying the front row.
Although pleased with the performance of the Mercedes car, Hamilton acknowledged that the Silver Arrows team did not find answers to Ferrari's speed in one quick lap.
“The car is very good and the updates work, but Ferrari can develop a power we can't compete with. In the race, our pace is much better, but in qualifying we are currently swimming in the dark. We have a lot of work to do to make up for the backlog. “