Max Verstappen clinched his maiden Formula 1 pole position after edging out Valtteri Bottas in a close qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.

More than three years after claiming his first F1 win, Verstappen led Red Bull to its first pole of the season after a tight battle with Mercedes drivers Bottas and Lewis Hamilton through all three stages of qualifying at the Hungaroring.

Verstappen sat on provisional pole after the first runs in Q3, but managed to find three-tenths of a second on his final lap, ending with a new track record time of 1m14.572s.

The improvement proved crucial as Bottas dug deep with his final effort, falling just 0.018s shy of Verstappen in second place, while Hamilton was almost two-tenths of a second adrift in third.

Verstappen becomes the fourth-youngest pole-sitter in F1 history, trailing Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc and Fernando Alonso, and the 100th different driver to take pole. It also marks the first pole for a Honda-powered car since the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.

Leclerc and Vettel were left down in P4 and P5 for Ferrari after struggling through the second and third sectors on their final laps. Leclerc was fortunate to make it that far after a spin in Q1 saw him damage the rear of his car, prompting Ferrari to change the rear wing. Pierre Gasly struggled to sixth for Red Bull, eight-tenths of a second off his teammate’s pole time.

McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz took seventh and eighth respectively, while Romain Grosjean qualified ninth for Haas as he continued to run the team’s Australia-spec car. Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top 10 for Alfa Romeo.

Nico Hulkenberg narrowly missed out on a place in Q3 for Renault, falling 0.037s shy of the top 10 as he qualified 11th ahead of the Toro Rosso pair of Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat.

Antonio Giovinazzi slotted into 14th for Alfa Romeo, but is under investigation for a possible block on Lance Stroll, while Kevin Magnussen struggled to P15 for Haas as he bemoaned traffic in the final part of Q2, leaving him over half a second adrift of a spot in Q3.

George Russell produced in one of the stand-out performances of the day as he qualified 16th for Williams, missing out on his first advance to Q2 by just 0.054s.

Russell carried through his impressive practice form to outqualify Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez (P17) and Lance Stroll (P19), as well as Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who was compromised in preparing his final lap in Q1, leaving him 18th.

Robert Kubica propped up the running order in the sister Williams, finishing 1.3 seconds down on Russell’s time.

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