Shortly after Verstappen and Hamilton's benchmark laps, Daniel Ricciardo moved into third on fresh hypersofts, which pushed the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas - like Hamilton running ultrasofts - down to fourth.
"This is a power circuit and there is power lost over an engine's life".
"Ferrari are particularly very strong on the straights so it'll be interesting to see if we are able to match them or not, but we'll give it everything, that's for sure".
It was a rough day for Renault, which saw Nico Hulkenberg fail to post a flying lap in the first session because of a gearbox problem and then run 14th in the afternoon.
Verstappen clocked a best lap in one minute, 13.302 seconds, outpacing nearest rival, championship leader and defending four-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by 0.088 seconds.
On a short circuit with a low downforce configuration, it is to be expected that the always competitive midfield battle will be a little closer. "The auto was incredible, and it just kept getting quicker".
There was drama at the start of qualifying for Haas as smoke began to pour out of Romain Grosjean's engine. He is hoping to build on last year's appearance at his hometown track, when as a rookie he earned the first points of his Formula One career. He starts P13, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.
There was a prolonged break in the middle of the session when Nico Hulkenberg's vehicle stopped on track shortly after the hairpin, forcing a red flag.
FP2 was held up after Carlos Sainz Jr sent his Renault into the wall after exiting turn seven, bringing out the red flag. The Oxfordshire team have scored the fewest points of all this year, and Canadian teenager Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin could manage only 17th and 18th respectively. The auto has been working really well and we know in qualifying we are missing top speed.
Having only selected five sets of the hypersoft tyres - the same compound they suffered problems with in Monaco - per vehicle to their rivals' eight for this weekend, Mercedes have delayed their use of Pirelli's fastest tyre until Saturday's Practice Three session.
The Ferrari appeared to have the pace throughout qualifying, with Vettel fastest in Q1 and second in Q2.
Typically the Scuderia pick it up on a Saturday though as do Mercedes so it will be fascinating to see if Verstappen and Red Bull can stay ahead.
"Would it have been enough to qualify for pole or Lewis to qualify on the front row we don't know but again it is one of the things that probably would have changed the overall outcome".
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