Verstappen sure Red Bull in the mix after Singapore practice

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Max Verstappen is confident Red Bull can fight Mercedes for victory after a solid practice day at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Dutchman led the opening session at Marina Bay before falling to second, less than two-tenths behind Lewis Hamilton under the lights in the evening.

What was particularly surprising was the advantage held by Mercedes in the final sector, a sequence of chicanes that Red Bull has dominated in recent years.

“I had three or four cars to get by so that is why my last sector was not good,” Verstappen explained.

“I only improved around two-tenths compared to my hard tyre, so I think we look very strong but of course also Lewis looks very strong."

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Indeed, while the pair were close over a single lap, Hamilton had a bigger advantage in the race simulation but this didn't worry Verstappen.

“We are competitive, so I’m happy with the day in short and long runs,” he added.

As for teammate Alex Albon, he was in the group behind Hamilton & Verstappen with Valtteri Bottas and the two Ferrari's.

His evening session was compromised though by a hit against the barrier at Turn 10.

“I had a lock up on the lap before and I had a little flat-spot. On top of that I was pushing and just another lock up in the same area of the tyre as the previous lap,” Albon explained.

Asked if that impacted his later soft tyre run, he continued: “A little bit, yeah. To do the lap afterwards wasn’t too actually bad I was expecting worse but yeah.

“It’s just about hooking up the lap really,” he added on adapting to the challenge of Marina Bay.

“It’s so technical that if you make one mistake the lap is over. So no mistakes, clean driving, but at the same time, you have to push to the walls.

“I’m still not quite confident with it but I’m sure by qualifying it will be easier.”