But Verstappen will line-up alongside Bottas on the front row with Hamilton hit with a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding his power unit allocation after moving onto his fourth internal combustion engine of the year in Turkey.
Despite Hamilton’s demotion opening the door for a clear run at Bottas, Verstappen does not believe he will be able to fight for the win given how competitive Mercedes was on both short and long runs on Friday.
Asked if he feels he has the pace to beat Mercedes in the race, Verstappen replied: “No, but we’ll of course just try to follow and see what we can do. And see what happens in the race in general.”
Verstappen is also worried about his P2 starting slot on the inside of the grid.
“Starting second, I don’t think that’s a great place to start on the inside,” he added. “Because there is no grip on the inside line. We’ll see how that goes.”
However, the Dutchman was left encouraged by the gains made by his Red Bull team going into qualifying following his struggles with a “balance mishmash” during Friday practice.
“I think we made some decent improvements compared to yesterday [Friday], where we were struggling a bit more to understand how to be quick around here,” Verstappen explained.
“[We were] just trying to work on that and I think in qualifying again it was a little bit better, but of course still not perfect.
“I was still quite happy with the result at the end and the lap itself. Can’t really be too disappointed about that.”
With overnight rain leaving the track damp ahead of the race, Verstappen may be feeling more confident about his chances…