It looked as though the battle for pole would be a straight flight between Red Bull and Ferrari, but a stunning final lap from Russell saw him secure a surprise maiden pole - and Mercedes’ first of the season - by just 0.044s from the Ferrari duo headed by Carlos Sainz. 

Charles Leclerc was 0.190s off the pace in third, but will take some solace from the fact his main title rival Verstappen will only start Sunday’s grand prix from 10th.

A rare error on his first lap left Verstappen seventh and on the back foot going into the final runs of Q3, before the reigning world champion reported his Red Bull had lost power. The issue could not be rectified and Verstappen subsequently fell to 10th as others improved. 

It turned out to be a nightmare qualifying for Red Bull, with Sergio Perez suffering a shock Q2 elimination with a time only good enough for 11th on the grid. 

Lando Norris was another star performer in qualifying as he took a brilliant fourth on the grid for McLaren, just 0.392s off Russell’s pole-setting pace as Esteban Ocon pipped Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso to fifth. 

Lewis Hamilton, an eight-time Hungarian Grand Prix winner, could only qualify seventh. The seven-time world champion was seven-tenths slower than Mercedes teammate Russell after encountering a DRS issue during his final lap of Q3. 

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen completed the rest of the top 10 order at the Hungaroring. 

Behind Perez came Guanyu Zhou’s Alfa Romeo, while Kevin Magnussen, running Haas’ upgraded car, was 13th-fastest, ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and teammate Mick Schumacher in 14th and 15th respectively. 

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda failed to progress out of Q1 along with Williams’ Alex Albon and Sebastian Vettel, who was only 18th-fastest after crashing his Aston Martin during final practice. 

Pierre Gasly was left 19th after seeing his fastest lap time deleted for track limits as AlphaTauri suffered a double qualifying elimination in the first part of qualifying. 

After topping a wet FP3, Nicholas Latifi ended up slowest of all in 20th after a mistake at the final corner cost the Williams driver a higher grid spot.