Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum believes he has the quickest car on the eve of the Macau Grand Prix, despite finishing eighth in the qualification race.
The 18-year-old Briton qualified sixth and was running fifth with four laps remaining, before his Motopark Dallara's rear tyres faded dramatically and he lost three positions.
Formula Renault Eurocup race winner and recent GP3 convert Ticktum has been one of the stars of the Macau weekend - he was second in Friday's free practice session and was denied at least a top-four grid position by red flags, on only his third competitive outing in a Formula 3 car.
"I've only done two [practice] starts in an F3 this year, and I didn't have a good one," Ticktum told Autosport.
"But I'm confident I've got the quickest car - I got fastest lap in the race, and we just need to calm the car down a bit.
"I think we were running a bit too aggressive - we were medium downforce [unlike team-mate Joel Eriksson, who was low downforce] but I think the rest of the car was too much based on qualifying, because it was eating the rear tyres.
"But I want to make the point that the team have been brilliant, so a big thank you to them."
Ticktum, who appears certain to race full time in next season's F3 European Championship with Motopark, added that he could have taken pole position had the final qualifying session not been interrupted by four red flags.
"I'm not going to lie, because it affected everyone, but it royally hurt me," he said.
"I had three laps ruined in the final sector when the red flags came out, and on the last one I had a 2m10.8s [predicted] on the dash [good enough for third or fourth].
"And that set had already done three runs, so I'd lost the peak of the tyre.
"Exactly the same thing happened to Alexander Sims in Macau last year [when Ticktum made his Macau debut as his team-mate at Double R Racing].
"If I'd been on the peak of the tyre at the right time, and on the right part of the track, I could have got a low 10 or even broken into the nines [Eriksson's pole was a 2m10.7s]."
Asked if he could challenge for a podium, Ticktum said: "It'll be difficult but Macau's Macau - anything can happen here so you never know."