Max Verstappen will line up fourth on Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix grid, but the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver was anything but happy with his pace in Saturday's evening qualifying session.
Before the 15th round of the F1 world championship, Red Bull and Verstappen were singled out as candidates to shine around Marina Bay, a venue viewed as favourable terrain for the RB15.
While Verstappen's P4 position still offers positive prospects for race day, the Dutchman felt he just didn't have the grip level required to take his Ferrari and Mercedes rivals.
"From my side, already the whole qualifying we were just lacking pace," said a despondent Verstappen.
"I was not too surprised that in Q3, when everything gets turned up, then you lack even more.
"From my side I think the car felt alright but just not enough grip. If I just wanted to go faster it was four-wheel sliding…"
Red Bull's pace on Friday relative to its front-running competitors perhaps hinted at its disappointing performance, although speculation yesterday was that the Milton Keynes-based outfit was simply trying various settings as it prepared for Saturday's shootout.
Still, Verstappen struggled to mask his disappointment.
"On Fridays people try different things, and around here many different things can change from one day to another," he explained.
"But yeah, a little bit surprised that after a positive Monza where normally we are really slow, then you would expect to be really competitive here.
"But we weren't, so something to look in to…"