Max Verstappen says Red Bull’s lack of top-end speed denied him a fair shot at a maiden pole position in Formula 1 but was content to take second place on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The 19-year-old missed out on becoming the first teenager to start from pole position in F1 history by 0.323s to Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari but equalled his best-ever qualifying result to beat Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and reach the front row at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Verstappen says he was pleased with his progress throughout qualifying building up to his final Q3 run but was powerless to stop the Ferrari charge when the Italian manufacturer turned up their engines.

“All in all the whole weekend was good progression, getting better and better,” Verstappen said. “Qualifying also is just constant improvement, even though the whole weekend we were a bit down on power, I don’t know why we couldn’t really solve it.

“We lost a bit of top speed there so that’s not ideal but at the end of the day to be second here on this track is very promising and we are not too far off. So I can be quite happy with this qualifying.”

Asked whether he’d take on Vettel into turn one with the German driver battling for the world title, Verstappen insists the championship picture won’t change his mindset but won’t take unnecessary risks hunting a first win since the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

“You always go for it if there is a gap and if it’s possible,” he said. but if not then you just settle down and get into the race. It’s a very long race so a lot of things can happen.”


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