Red Bull driver Max Verstappen appeared downbeat after qualifying in Bahrain, having been beaten to pole position by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen had managed to usurp Carlos Sainz after the Spaniard set the pace during the first Q3 runs, but was powerless against Leclerc's final attempt.
As a result, the Dutch driver seemed a little disappointed as he spoke after the session.
"It's a bit difficult to tell," said Verstappen, when asked if he had any more pace to offer.
"I think it was a bit hit and miss. Q2 seemed quite good, and then Q3 was a bit more of a struggle to get the balance together but, nevertheless, I think it was alright.
"I think we have a good car, a good race car as well, which, at the end of the day, is the most important. That was a good day, overall. It's a good start."
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Verstappen enjoyed battle with the Ferraris
Verstappen said that he'd already identified some areas in which he and Red Bull could improve, and reckons the race offers a whole new opportunity.
"Not fantastic, but also not too bad. Otherwise, we cannot be in this position," he added, when asked about the performance of the RB18.
"[There are] a few things, of course, to look into, and we'll try to do better next time, but here, you want to be good at qualifying, and you also really want to make sure your car's working for the race, because the tyres really struggle a lot more.
"It's a bit different to some other tracks, but it was nice. [It was] a really good battle with Carlos and Charles at the end, so they did a really good job over the winter, and hopefully it's going to be an exciting race!"
As for the gap back to 2021 sparring partner Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen wryly smiled when asked if he's disappointed by their failure to get involved in the battle for pole position, quipping: "Very, very!"
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