Verstappen will line up behind Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton tomorrow afternoon.

The Dutchman was nearly beaten by McLaren duo Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, with the low downforce configuration at Monza not suiting the strengths of the RB16B.

After struggling for pace in the run-up to qualifying, Verstappen was happy to secure third, just behind his main title rival.

“It wasn’t the best but we also know that this track isn’t our best track because of the long straights,” he said. “Of course, you try to trim it with the downforce. Third is good. I was actually quite happy that I was in third because in FP1 we were struggling a bit with balance. 

“I think we recovered quite well. It would have been unrealistic to hope for more so third is good.”

While Verstappen hopes Red Bull fares better on race day, he believes the victory is out of reach, even with Bottas set to start from the back of the grid after taking a new power unit for this weekend.

“Maybe a bit closer but I don’t think we can challenge them. You never know what happens in a race,” he added. We just have to keep the pressure on.

“Still, before that race a lot of things can happen so need to get through it cleanly.”