Max Verstappen believes only Mercedes showed better pace over a long run during Friday practice for the British Grand Prix.

The young Dutchman enjoyed a strong day on his first visit to Silverstone in an F1 car, proving third quickest straight away in FP1 before ending the afternoon with seventh in FP2.

Enjoying the thrill of taking on the high-speed circuit, which he regards as one of his favourites, in the Toro Rosso, Verstappen was pleased with his strong start and feels row four is possible in qualifying.

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"It was a good day, a good start," he said. "It is quite a difficult track to learn, but we are quite happy with the progress we made today even though I didn't get much running in FP1 because of the flat-spot. I am happy the car is performing as it should. We want to improve it but for the moment it is going in the right direction.

"I think we can be quite strong. P5 or P6 is a bit optimistic, but around P7 or P8 is a target, I think that is realistic."

Notably, however, Toro Rosso showed strong form over the long runs, with Verstappen making the bold claim that the team is potentially second only to Mercedes in this area here.

"I think the long run was very good, I was very happy. I had a Mercedes in front of me and he was not pulling away a lot. In general, the car balance was very positive so I think we can be very good in the race. I think only Mercedes were a bit faster."