Max Verstappen explained how Red Bull's organisation and quick switch onto intermediate tyres during the final stage of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday ultimately backfired, with a shortage of fuel leaving the Dutchman stuck in the pits as other drivers improved come the end of the session.

After dry running in both Q1 and Q2, rain in the lead-up to Q3 left drivers coming straight into the pits after completing an installation lap on slick tyres in order to move over to intermediates.

While most teams were not ready to immediately make the switch, Red Bull had prepared intermediates for Verstappen, enabling him to be the first driver to hit the track and theoretically enjoy the best grip conditions before the rain grew heavier.

As Verstappen's car was only filled with enough fuel for two timed laps at the end of Q3, he pitted, with an ease in the weather then allowing midfield runners Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean to make the top five. Verstappen ended the session down in P7.

"I think at the time we made the right call. It was just very unfortunate that it stopped raining," Verstappen said of the early switch to intermediates.

"Basically, we were the most organised compared to the other teams. That caught us out today.

"We thought it was going to rain more, so we just wanted to get out as quick as we could to set a lap, because on my first lap I could use DRS and afterwards not on my second timed lap.

"Our forecast was that it was going to rain more or at least stay as wet, so then it’s good to go out straight away."

Verstappen added he was informed by Red Bull late in the session he was running out of fuel, by which point there was not enough time left to pit and fill the tank back up for another run.

Looking ahead to Sunday's race, Verstappen was uneasy about his chances of scoring a maiden podium finish at Spa given the pace of both Ferrari and Mercedes.

"I think something needs to happen, because I think the Ferrari and Mercedes are too quick for us, even in race conditions," Verstappen said.

"It’s going to be tricky, but we’ll for sure try to be there, and if something happens, we’ll take our opportunities."