Verstappen left his best lap until the very end of Q3 as he pumped in a 1m32.910s, putting him 0.209s clear of Hamilton as he claimed his ninth pole of the season. 

It was Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez who had set the initial pace after the opening runs of the pole shootout, but the Mexican ended up slipping down to third come the end of the session as he was denied a maiden pole.

With Verstappen and Hamilton sharing the front-row for the seventh time this season, it has set up a tantalising prospect for the first race at Austin in two years, which is expected to be attended by a capacity 140,000-strong crowd. 

The result marks the first time in the V6 hybrid era that Mercedes has been beaten to pole at the Circuit of the Americas. 

Valtteri Bottas was unable to match the pace of Mercedes teammate Hamilton as he could only manage the fourth-quickest time, some half a second adrift. 

The Finn will start Sunday’s race from ninth on the grid after his five-place penalty for an engine change is applied. 

Charles Leclerc led Ferrari’s charge in fifth ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz, with both out qualifying the McLaren pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. 

The top-10 order was completed by the AlphaTauris of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, who secured his second consecutive Q3 appearance with a strong qualifying showing. 

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was knocked out of a spot in Q3 by Tsunoda late on as he was left to settle with 11th ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who will drop to the back of the grid after Aston Martin elected to fit a new engine in his car. 

Having snuck into Q2 despite having a big spin at the end of the opening session, Antonio Giovinazzi wound up 13th-fastest for Alfa Romeo. 

Next up came Fernando Alonso’s Alpine and the Williams of George Russell in 14th and 15th, with both drivers set to join Vettel in starting from the back due to engine penalties. 

Vettel will line up ahead of Alonso and Russell on the grid courtesy of his faster lap time in qualifying.

Lance Stroll was a tenth short of progressing out of Q1 as he could only manage a time good enough for 16th. 

The Aston Martin driver was joined in the elimination zone by the Williams of Nicholas Latifi, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. 

Schumacher once again got the better of his teammate in qualifying, with Mazepin only able to complete one lap time that did not fall foul of track limits. 

Full results from qualifying at the 2021 F1 United States Grand Prix.