Max Verstappen was left to regret a "messy" qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix as he blamed a number of factors for finishing behind another Mercedes front-row lock-out.
Verstappen was a dejected third, 0.398s off pole after his Red Bull was out-qualified by both Mercedes at Portimão, with Valtteri Bottas narrowly claiming pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
The Dutch driver had set the quickest lap time in the session but went over the track limits, while there were other issues that came into play.
“Qualifying was very difficult to drive so struggling a lot with grip," said Verstappen.
“That first lap in Q3 was quite decent but I just had a big moment in [turn] four so went a little off track. I was quite confident we could do another good lap, but in the last sector, there was a car in front.
“That just disturbs you, especially with the low grip we have and the tough wind out there. It cost me a lot of lap time, but it is what it is. It was a bit messy."
Verstappen, who is currently just one point behind Hamilton in the early stages of this year’s championship battle, won the last race in Imola after starting from third on the grid.
Mercedes topped the times around the tricky undulating circuit in both Friday practice sessions, but Verstappen claimed the fastest time for Red Bull on Saturday morning.
Asked if he has a car to take on Mercedes, he said: “Yeah. It’s of course not ideal, but we will try to fight them in the race. Hopefully, everything stabilises a bit more because up until now it’s not been a lot of fun to drive here.”
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