Max Verstappen doubts Red Bull will be able to fight Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari for pole position in Singapore, feeling the team is “too far away” following Friday’s practice running.

Verstappen ended FP2 as the quickest Red Bull driver in third place ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo in fourth, but was over half a second behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen at the head of the timesheets.

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Red Bull has excelled on tighter layouts similar to Singapore so far this season, winning in Monaco, but Verstappen was unsure of the team’s chances in qualifying, saying there is work to do overnight before Saturday’s running.

“It was OK, I think we can still improve with the car,” Verstappen said.

“It was not the perfect day for me, but we will see what's going to happen tomorrow.

“I don't think we have the pace to fight for pole, but we'll try to optimise the car a bit more.

“We’re a bit too far away so we still need to improve the car a bit more, but we have another night to work on that, and we’ll see where we end up.”

Drivers appeared to struggle more on the Hypersoft tyre through the nighttime FP2 session in Singapore, with Verstappen confirming that the Ultrasoft and Soft compounds were better to use.

“The Hypersoft is not amazing in the long run. It very quickly goes away,” Verstappen said.

“The other two are not too bad.”

However, the Dutchman would not be drawn on whether Red Bull could try to get through Q2 on Ultrasofts to have them as the starting tyre for the race, saying: “I haven’t thought about that.”

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