The Dutchman pushed his RB19 to the limits of the circuit, but came up short in Q3, abandoning his last attempt at pole position before reaching the finish line.
Ferrari have been exceptional this week, and are favourites for victory on Saturday night, but Verstappen admitted he hopes that Red Bull’s lack of pace was due to the circumstances of qualifying conditions.
The Scuderia looked to have a slight edge over their rivals throughout practice, and held an extra few tenths for when it mattered right at the end of qualifying.
“It was enjoyable out there,” he said while addressing the world media after qualifying. “I do think that we maximised today. I think already the whole weekend so far, we’ve been lacking a little bit of one lap performance and that was also quite clear in qualifying.
“I hope tomorrow in the race, I hope that we’re good on the tyres again and then we can work our way forward.
“I would have liked to have had a little bit more pace, but we know that the points are tomorrow, and we know it’s going to be a tough one.”
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