Max Verstappen feels he extracted the most from his Red Bull car during qualifying for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Dutchman split the Ferrari drivers in qualifying to snatch a second-row starting position in Barcelona, as he ended up just a tenth behind Sebastian Vettel on his way to fourth place.

Verstappen conceded he lost a bit of time due to his tyres going off on his second run, but ultimately felt his effort was the most he could achieve in qualifying.

“There was not much more in it,” Verstappen told Sky Sports. “My second time in Q3, the first sector was good. But I knew that my first run in Q3 was not ideal.

“But then the tyres just dropped off and it felt a bit like a chewing gum. I had this feeling of sliding around so I lost a bit of time there. But yeah, it wouldn’t have made a massive difference.

“It’s alright, but if you compare to Mercedes, of course, we are lacking quite a bit,” he added. “So in that perspective I think we’re not where we want to be.

“We can be very honest about that. I’m not here to qualify 4th. Of course I’m happy to qualify between the Ferrari cars but I think as a team we want to challenge the number one - that is Mercedes.”

And Verstappen believes Red Bull can continue to take the fight to Ferrari in the race, though he admits Mercedes is probably out of reach.

“I think we have a realistic chance of fighting with Ferrari,” he said. “We are quite close.

“Mercedes is a different story, especially Valtteri he seems like he’s flying in this weekend. So, I’m not really targeting that but you never know. Normally I’m a bit more confident in the race and our car is in a better window.

“I will try, there’s a lot of possibilities. Also I think the tyres at this track are a bit different compared to a few years before. Hopefully it’ll be exciting fighting with Ferrari.”

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