The Mercedes star knows he must win on Sunday to have any chance of closing the 12-point gap between himself and team-mate Nico Rosberg, with the German seemingly on course for his maiden world title.
It is Hamilton on pole, though, after he stormed to the 61st qualifying triumph of his career, only four behind his hero Ayrton Senna.
Rosberg will start second on the grid at the Yas Marina Circuit, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo third and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari fourth.
Although his rival's form means his task looks a tough one, Hamilton will give it his best shot.
The Brit said: "I've got the car in a real sweet spot this weekend, great work done by my mechanics and my engineers.
"They have done all an incredible job and I want to thank everyone back at the factory. I would not have the 61 poles that I have without them, so a big thank you to them. And yeah, perfect position for Sunday."