The Red Bull driver took control on the first runs in Q3 with a lap of 1m14.958s, which put him 0.178s ahead of the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
While Bottas was able to eclipse Verstappen’s time at the second attempt, Verstappen then banged in a 1m14.572s to clinch pole position by just 0.018s thanks to his pace in the final sector.
All of the top six will start Sunday’s race using medium Pirellis having used that tyre to set their time in Q2.
McLaren led the way in the battle for midfield supremacy, with Lando Norris shading Carlos Sainz by 0.052s.
Romain Grosjean took eighth in the Australian Grand Prix-specification Haas, 0.028s faster than the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was bumped to 11th place and quickest of those eliminated in Q2 by Raikkonen’s late lap – missing out by less than half-a-tenth.
Although Hulkenberg failed to improve on his second run, that was still enough to keep him ahead of fellow non-improvers Toro Rosso pairing Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat.
Antonio Giovinazzi was 14th for Alfa Romeo having also failed to find time at the second attempt, putting him ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the latest-specification Haas, who was unable to repeat his strong Q1 pace in Q2.
Giovinazzi also faces the threat of a grid penalty for impeding Lance Stroll’s Racing Point at Turn 5, with stewards investigating the incident after the session.
George Russell missed out on a first appearance in Q2 by just 0.053s having been in the top 15 until the last moment in the first segment of qualifying.
Russell had made sure of clear track for his final run by making his attempt just before the rest started their laps, temporarily climbing as high as eighth.
But he was shuffled down the order as others completed their final laps, with Hulkenberg the final driver to get ahead and push him into the Q1 drop-zone.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez did enough on his final run to jump ahead of the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who had to back out of his final lap.
Ricciardo was caught in a gaggle of traffic at the last corner ahead of the start of his lap and attempted to find clear air by going around Perez before having to back out of it when the Racing Point driver was unwilling to let him go.