Verstappen managed third in qualifying at Istanbul Park behind the two Mercedes drivers of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, but with his main title rival serving a grid penalty for an engine change, he will start from second.
The Dutchman struggled for pace during Friday practice, languishing six-tenths behind Hamilton in FP2.
Reflecting on qualifying, Verstappen was pleased with Red Bull’s turnaround from Friday.
“Yeah I mean of course qualifying in the beginning was quite tricky with the conditions but compared to yesterday we actually managed to turn it around quite well,” Verstappen said. “The laps, I think overall they were quite good even though the last lap we lost a bit down the straight, we have to look into that but there was not the lap time in it to fight for pole.
“Overall, I think quite a decent recovery compared to yesterday. Third is the maximum today and tomorrow lining up in second… let’s see what the weather will do overnight but overall I am pretty happy.”
Verstappen will go head-to-head with Bottas for the victory on Sunday, with Hamilton down in 11th.
The Red Bull driver is adamant tyre degradation will play a significant role in the grand prix.
“It should be a bit better,” Verstappen replied when asked about his overnight set-up changes. “Let’s see how competitive we’re going to be in the race. Also tyre wear seems quite high around this track. At least now the track is a lot of fun to drive, especially also the long left-hander, Turn 8. We will find out tomorrow.”
Verstappen sits second in the drivers’ championship going into the race, just two points behind Hamilton.