Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has claimed he got Formula 1 teammate Max Verstappen half a tenth of a second's worth of pace for his 20th birthday after qualifying behind him for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull teammates will line up next to each other on the second row at Sepang, with birthday boy Verstappen P3 and Ricciardo P4, the latter finishing 0.054s behind in Q3.

Joking after the session, Ricciardo said: "First things first, everyone wants to know what I got Max for his birthday.

"I got him half a tenth. That is my gift to him."

Asked where he gave it to him, Ricciardo said "I think it was Turn 4 exit. 

"I was struggling quite a lot in that corner just to keep the rear steady, so in Q1 it was really bad there. We got a bit better but it was the main area."

The Red Bulls had topped FP1 and been ahead of the Mercedes in FP2 before Ricciardo split Kimi Raikkonen and the Mercedes drivers in final practice, but dropped back in qualifying.

Nevertheless, Ricciardo rates their chances, especially in a wet race, with Vettel's engine failure in qualifying meaning Mercedes may not push as hard to preserve their championship lead.

"If Kimi wants to get out in front, looking at the pace all weekend it minimizes our chances," Ricciardo said.

"But if it goes off in order, Mercedes have not shown enough to really show that they are going to dominate in the dry.

"So that will definitely open up some opportunities. I don’t think we need to lead into Turn 1 to have a chance to win. It could go either way. 

"His half second gap could come towards us, or he could bring it to a second in the race. But I think if anything it will come towards us.

"Rain we can talk even more about a podium. A bigger step. We can definitely be quick in the wet. 

"The way our car works around here we have had to put quite a bit of downforce on, so another reason why we would be competitive in the wet. We won’t be disappointed if it rains."

Coming second place in Singapore after the double Ferrari DNF which also took out his teammate, Ricciardo seemed hopeful for more potential chaos in Sepang.

"It should be interesting. I am sure that Kimi is going to get some heat to make Lewis’ life hell at the start, so we will see how that plays out," he said.