The Dutchman claimed his first pole position ahead of Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix after setting a new track record of 1:14.572, ahead of Valtteri Bottas by just 0.018 behind in one of the closest qualifying sessions of recent times.
Max Verstappen’s first pole of his career was also Honda’s first pole since Jenson Button in 2006, with Red Bull boasting Honda power this season.
Lewis Hamilton was outqualified by his teammate, and after a shaky first sector, the five-time world champion couldn’t regain the time to clinch pole but will certainly be in contention for the race win on Sunday.
After spinning into the barriers on the final corner damaging his rear wing in Q1, Charles Leclerc recovered to finish qualifying in fourth place, with the help of Ferrari mechanics who were working frantically to fix the Monegasques car.
Sebastian Vettel set the fastest first sector of the session, but the overall lap was only good enough for P5 as the German was beaten by his teammate once more.
McLaren ‘best of the rest’
McLaren cemented their place as the fourth best team, after Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz clinched 7th and 8th positions respectively.
Under pressure Pierre Gasly was once again outshone by his teammate Verstappen, finishing 6th and as ‘silly season’ gets underway, the Frenchman should fear for his Red Bull seat with drivers further down the grid impressing.
After being awarded penalties in Germany, costing Alfa Romeo valuable points, Kimi Raikkonen was able to rinse the best out of his car once more putting his car 9th on the grid ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean rounding out the top ten.
Haas confusion as Kvyat brought back down to earth
Haas continued to be bemused, as Grosjean progressed to Q3 in the car specification that was used in the first race of the season, whereas his teammate Kevin Magnussen in the new spec struggled for grip and was knocked out in Q2, eight-tenths behind.
Nico Hulkenburg will start from P11 and will have the choice of fresh tyres in the Renault for the race tomorrow.
After jubilation in Germany for Toro Rosso, both Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat were knocked out in Q2, in 12th and 13th respectively.
A messy session for Antonio Giovinazzi meant the Alfa Romeo struggled to 14th place in Q2 and could face further punishment for blocking a Racing Point early on in the session.
Disappointment for Ricciardo
The big shock of Q1 was Daniel Ricciardo’s elimination, as the Australians’ miserable weekend continued starting in P18 for the race tomorrow, remarkably behind Williams’ George Russell.
Russell, with an improved Williams package in Hungary, qualified in a personal best 16th place and narrowly missed out on progressing to Q2 by 0.054, giving a glimpse of the immense potential the Brit possesses.
Lance Stroll has struggled in qualifying throughout this season and in Hungary it was no different as the Canadian faltered to 19th place, behind his teammate Sergio Perez who could only get the Racing Point into 17th.
Robert Kubica couldn’t match his teammates efforts and will start from the back of the grid tomorrow.