Toto Wolff believes Mercedes are "a bit better" this season as their W04 is making better use of its Pirelli tyres.
Mercedes had a solid start to their campaign with Lewis Hamilton qualifying third before racing to fifth in the season-opening Australian GP.
However, his team-mate Nico Rosberg, who qualified sixth, did not reach the chequered flag.
"I think with Mercedes it is a bit better than it was last season," Wolff told Autosport.
"But it seems you have to work even more for the Sunday than the Saturday. P7 on the grid [in Australia] won the race, while P1 struggled and finished third.
"So maybe it is much more about making a compromise on Saturday to get the car right for Sunday."
The Mercedes motorsport boss added that the new Pirelli rubber, which is less durable than last season's, is already playing a major role in the outcome of grand prix weekends.
However, for Mercedes it appears to be working better as the team was able to run a longer first stint than many of their rivals on the supersoft tyres in Melbourne.
"Some teams seemed to have lost the plot completely," Wolff added.
"McLaren, Williams and Toro Rosso don't seem to manage the tyres at all; and then you have one of the Force Indias which does 80 percent a fantastic race and then drops out of any performance.
"For us, the option tyre at the beginning of the race came back and it looked like we could easily do a two-stop strategy.
"But then we went on the prime tyre and exactly the opposite happened, which is quite interesting."