Red Bull's Max Verstappen confessed to be surprised by his runner-up performance in qualifying on Saturday, but admits he'll need a good start and perhaps favourable circumstances to have a chance of winning on Sunday.
While everyone marveled at Lewis Hamilton's stunning effort to secure pole, Verstappen's display around the challenging Marina Bay circuit in Singapore was perhaps as equally impressive. The Dutchman has now out-qualified team mate Daniel Ricciardo nine consecutive times!
Red Bull didn't exactly hit the ground running on Friday, but set-up work and progress gradually brought the team's RB14 up to a decent level of performance by Saturday evening.
Still, with Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel the designated favourites for the session, and Mercedes always a force to be reckoned with, Verstappen was cautious going into qualifying.
In the end however, Vettel was left behind while the Dutchman - a bit amazed by his feat - will line up alongside Hamilton on the front row of tomorrow's grid.
"Very surprising actually," said Verstappen when asked how he felt about his performance.
"It was a good lap, the car was working actually really well, we made a really good step from all the practice sessions into qualifying and how we were setting up the car.
"Even with the problems we had - the car just falling into neutral, weird things with the engine when I was going on power it was cutting out - even in Q3 I had that problem.
"Very weird but very happy to be still second."
Earlier in the day, in the final free practice session, a frustrated Verstappen was heard complaining about his Renault power unit's functioning almost every other lap.
"So far they don't know what's going on , but in the race it should be better because you're not running on full power. We'll see tomorrow," he said.
Asked about his prospects for the race, the 20-year-old rated his chances as good as his start
"It all depends on the start. If you can take the lead, for sure you have a good chance," he explained.
"And also it depends on the safety car that are coming in but starting second gives you a better opportunity than fifth or sixth."
The Red Bull charger admitted that his fate in last year's race, when he was involved in the first lap chaos brought on by a clumsy Vettel, wasn't on his mind.
"Those things happen in racing, they can happen at every track and it was just a very unfortunate situation. Everybody learns from them and you just go on," he said.