Max Verstappen admitted “something is not working” on Red Bull’s car after struggling to find a comfortable balance during qualifying for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Hungaroring has traditionally been a good hunting ground for Red Bull in past years, and the Austrian outfit had high hopes it could be Mercedes’ nearest challengers this weekend.

But the RB16 hasn’t looked well suited to the circuit as in previous seasons, resulting in Verstappen failure to replicate his 2019 pole position, ending the session 1.4 seconds adrift of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in P7.

“I don’t know why but clearly something is not working compared to, let’s say, also last year when I think we had a really good balance here,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1. “But the whole weekend has been really tricky and it is hard to understand.

“We tried a lot of things but it still doesn’t really work so of course it was a disappointing qualifying. The pace is all very close [between the teams] so we have to wait and we are also not starting on the best tyre for the race but it is what it is.

“I will try to do the best that I can and see where we end up but it is quite tricky to overtake here anyway.”

In a bid to solve its pace issues from Friday’s two practice sessions, Red Bull broke the curfew to work on both cars.

This proved in vein as Verstappen’s team-mate Alex Albon faired even worse as he was knocked out in Q2, with the Anglo-Thai driver conceding his surprise early exit from qualifying was down to more than one specific problem.

“It was a bit of everything, obviously I didn’t do a great lap as well, but we had another lap to try to fix it but it is a few things to be honest,” Albon told Sky Sports F1.

“We just need to sit with the team and discuss it to be better prepared for next time. It was [better] in FP3, not so much in qualifying, so I need to figure it out a bit better.”