It was questioned whether even McLaren could challenge Verstappen but the Dutchman managed to hold them off to secure his spot on the second row.
This weekend has already been hard work for Red Bull, who look as if they are a long way from Mercedes and even Ferrari, as shown by Pierre Gasly's disappointing ninth in Q3.
Verstappen told Sky Sports F1 after the session: "The lap itself was not very clean, the car had an odd behaviour, so we need to check that. But we maximised our position and it is good to be on the second row.
"The cars are very sensitive to the wind and in my first lap in Q3 I had a moment, but you have to deal with it. We need a bit of luck to get on the podium but we will give it a good go."