Max Verstappen says he was a “bit surprised” by Red Bull’s lack of competitiveness during qualifying for Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix.

After a strong showing last time out at Monza - a circuit Red Bull has struggled at in recent years - the Milton Keynes squad was encouraged heading to Singapore’s tight and twisty Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Verstappen led the way in opening practice as Red Bull looked competitive on Friday, but its performance tailed off come qualifying as Ferrari shocked its rivals with some stunning pace.

The Dutchman managed to split the Mercedes drivers in fourth but ended up half a second down on polesitter Charles Leclerc.

“From my side I think already the whole qualifying we were just lacking pace,” Verstappen explained.

“I was not too surprised and in Q3 when everything gets turned up then you lack even more.

"From my side, I think the car felt alright but there was just not enough grip. I wanted to go faster but had all four wheels sliding.

“It’s always difficult to say [if we had a chance for pole],” he added.

“On Friday people try different things and here many things can change from one day to another.

“I’m a little bit surprised that after a positive Monza, where normally we are very slow, then you would expect to be really competitive here but we weren’t. Something to look into.”

Asked about Red Bull’s prospects for the race, Verstappen replied: “I don’t know. We are too slow but we will see tomorrow.”

Verstappen's teammate Alexander Albon claimed his best-ever qualifying result in sixth place in the sister Red Bull.

"It was okay, it’s not great though and I want to be doing better than that," Albon admitted. 

"The track is not easy, it’s one of those tracks where there’s a bigger step between drivers in a general sense but it was OK, just feeling my way through qualifying. A little bit of a lack of experience really.

"The car went away from me a little bit all the way through up until the last run in Q3 where I did a couple of changes and it went a lot better. If I knew that before, I would have made them earlier in the session.

"Just kind of learning and it was good to experience that but if I could do it again I would have tried different changes. The track was quite surprising, the track evolution wasn’t quite as aggressive as it has been in previous years, so yeah, it was not an easy session but in the end, P6, I would have liked to have been just a bit quicker."