Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hailed a "good recovery" from Max Verstappen as he followed the Ferrari drivers to third position during qualifying in Miami.
Verstappen missed out on a significant amount of track time on Friday as cooling delays, a gearbox change and a hydraulic issue hampered his efforts.
Despite this, Verstappen found himself leading the way after the first Q3 laps, putting his Red Bull narrowly ahead of Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
However, during the decisive runs, the tables were turned when Leclerc and Sainz improved, and Verstappen made a mistake at Turn 4.
Horner reflects on "fine margins" in Miami qualifying
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after qualifying, Horner said: "It's unfortunate. I mean, Ferrari have done a very strong job today, [and] when it's so close, it's fine margins.
"After the first run it was looking positive, but then, unfortunately, [it was] a small mistake at Turn 4, and that was it for Max."
Despite the error, Horner praised Verstappen for bouncing back from his practice issues.
"It was good recovery from him," he added of the reigning World Champion.
"He was on the back foot, down on lap count to the other guys, and he's still learning about the track."
Viewed by others:
Horner optimistic that Red Bull can fight Ferrari for the win
Horner expects the drivers to face a major test over the 57 laps of racing on Sunday, given the hot weather and demands of the all-new Miami International Autodrome, describing it as "quite brutal".
Nevertheless, he is hopeful of Verstappen and Red Bull being able to take the fight to Ferrari in race trim.
"I think we've got a very different race
car to Ferrari tomorrow. They're carrying a bit more downforce. They're
quicker in some of the corners," said Horner.
"We're definitely going to be a bit easier through the corners, but we'll be much quicker on the straights, I think, tomorrow, so it'll be a fascinating contest."
F1 Podcast: Are Red Bull now favourites and has Hamilton hit a new low?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher look back over the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Red Bull triumphed, Ferrari hit trouble and Mercedes struggled.