The Dutchman said he had extracted almost everything on his final Q3 run, but even so feels fifth is a fair reflection of Toro Rosso's place in the 2016 pecking order - and is therefore confident he won't fall away during Sunday's race.
"We have to be realistic, Mercedes and Ferrari are a little too fast for us at the moment," Verstappen said after his best qualifying performance in F1. "But it was a great achievement by the whole team - I think you can call us best of the rest at the moment.
"We knew the car was handling well [in pre-season] but you don't know what other teams are doing…but I think we made a very good step, not only with the car but with the power unit. And everything worked perfectly today.
"I was quite on the limit, quite on the edge, but I think not many people made a mistake so I think we deserved to be P5.
"It should be positive in the race; we have a good chance to maintain position."
Verstappen will become the youngest points scorer in Australian Grand Prix history if he finishes in the top ten on Sunday. His best finish is currently fourth, scored in Hungary and the USA during his rookie campaign last year.