Max Verstappen has set his sights on picking off at least one Mercedes scalp to secure a podium finish in the Singapore Grand Prix after being left a frustrated fourth in qualifying.
On a weekend that has seen Red Bull prove competitive relative to Mercedes, the Dutchman would struggle to live up to pre-qualifying expectations as Nico Rosberg delivered pole position by more than half a second from Daniel Ricciardo.
SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – Qualifying results
With Verstappen propping up the second row alongside Lewis Hamilton, the youngster was disappointed to lose the good feeling with the car when it mattered.
“As soon as you feel comfortable in the car it's a lot of lap time around this track so the differences can be bigger if you're comfortable. Qualifying was difficult. The whole weekend I have been very happy but then the moment I had to get it done I was not happy.
“Then you don't feel comfortable and you can't take the risk you normally want to take because you're fighting with the car. I just couldn't get the front tyres to work in the first sector and it just snowballs. You can't get them ready, you don't feel comfortable, you start locking tyres.”
Even so, Verstappen is optimistic he can take the challenge to Hamilton come race day if he can make successful changes to his RB12 overnight.
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“If you feel well everything works with the tyres and the warm up and there can be a very big difference, so in the race hopefully we have the pace again. They are very strong, but on the other hand Lewis is struggling a bit so maybe we can fight him.”
Meanwhile, Verstappen made light of being 'confronted' by a giant lizard during FP3, which was stood to the side of the circuit as the Red Bull approached. Pausing to let the car through, the lizard cross the cicuit disappeared off… much to Verstappen's bemusement!
“I was very surprised because you normally only see them in the zoo. It was nice. I didn't want to stop there I just wanted to drive away from it but it was cool to see. I saw him out of the corner and I was like shit he's coming, he's coming.
“And then I saw him stop and I was like go now and then I saw in my mirror he was going. I think Felipe was behind me and he went in between us. Maybe he was walking around here in the paddock now! Eat inside!”
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