Sebastian Vettel clinched a fourth career pole in Canada after edging out Valtteri Bottas by 0.093 seconds at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. "The auto was incredible, and it just kept getting quicker".
"If the others are sliding around in dirty air or whatever, we should be able to get a bit more out of them".
Whilst Verstappen posted a 1:12.198 to go quickest ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and half a second up on Lewis Hamilton, there times were posted on the quicker Hypersoft, whilst Mercedes avoided using the tyre due to a limited supply.
"We feel it's a good tyre for us and, in the long run, I felt good on it - so yeah, no big surprises", he said. You could see in Monaco that we have a great vehicle and it's very unfortunate that we don't have the top speed to compete all the time.
"I think they'll be at this stage hard to beat", he admitted, "but I think we can still improve the auto a lot, do more laps, learn a bit more and I think we'll be okay".
Verstappen has come under increasing pressure after a series of incidents at the opening rounds of the season and in Monaco he missed qualifying - and a shot at victory - after a crash in final practice.
He retired in Azerbaijan after a collision with Ricciardo and in China he tangled with Hamilton and Vettel, finishing fifth after a 10-second penalty demoted him from fourth, while Ricciardo won the race.More news: 5 talking points ahead of the men's French Open final
"It's just been a hard day", he said after unexpectedly being out-qualified by team mate Bottas.
Grosjean's qualifying lasted only a few seconds. "I was a lot happier with the vehicle and I think we can carry that into the race".
Vettel ended Q1 on top ahead of the Finn with Hamilton third, but it was tense for McLaren as twice former champion Fernando Alonso squeezed into Q2 at the end in 14th place ahead of team mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vettel said he was surprised by Red Bull's decision to start on the pink-marked tyre, a compound they managed to make work successfully relative to their rivals in Monaco, but Verstappen insisted his team had a good reason to do so.
Mercedes found a "quality issue" with their upgraded engine, believed to be a tolerance that would have made the engine unlikely to last the seven races engines need to run this season.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner congratulated Verstappen on finishing third, with the Dutchman replaying: "I guess it shows I still know how to drive".
A quick new track record for Bottas, the first man below 1:11 on the circuit with a 1:10.857.