Verstappen surprised by Red Bull's performance in Malaysia

Max Verstappen hopes he can mix it with Lewis Hamilton tomorrow.
Max Verstappen hopes he can mix it with Lewis Hamilton tomorrow.

Red Bull Racing have locked out the second row of the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix, much to the surprise of Max Verstappen.

The 18-year-old will start third, ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo as they were the best of the rest behind Mercedes, but crucially ahead of Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton was the class of the field, taking pole position by more than four tenths of a second from Nico Rosberg.

But Verstappen was hot on the German's coat-tails in third, with Ricciardo just half a tenth behind his team-mate.

“I thought it was going to be a tough race for us before we came here," Verstappen said.

"Now it seems like the balance of the car is there, the long runs seem good and we have improved our short run pace a lot. We were pretty close to the Mercedes on the front row and I’m really enjoying the new surface here, the car is working very well on it.

"For both of us to be on the second row, in front of Ferrari, means we can be very pleased with today’s work. Out of the past three or four races this has been my best long run pace on a Friday, we haven’t changed much on the car so it should be similar tomorrow."

Ricciardo too hopes he can be part of a battle for the podium places.

He added: "We should have a nice battle for the podium tomorrow and we’ll try to stay ahead of the Ferraris. They are normally pretty good on their tyres here but we have an extra set of soft tyres for the race which should work well for us.

"As a team we are pumped to lock out the second row at this circuit and we should have a good race on our hands for tomorrow.”