The Mercedes driver was more than half a second clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in wet conditions at the Shanghai International Circuit.
It was a tough session, but the car was feeling great
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will start from third as Nico Rosberg ended up fourth after spinning his Mercedes in an attempt to close the gap to his team-mate.
“Definitely the most satisfaction is getting this result when it is raining,” said Hamilton.
“It was so slippery out there, trying to find the grip and not make mistakes.
“It was a tough session, but the car was feeling great. There are some things that can be improved on but it has put us in a good position for the race.”
Hamilton’s 34th career pole position moves him one clear of Jim Clark and fourth in the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Vettel.
Elsewhere, McLaren’s Jenson Button was a disappointing 12th, with his team-mate Kevin Magnussen 15th.
“In these conditions it’s very tricky for us,” said Button. “We struggle with front [tyre] temperatures.
“I think it will be a fun race, it’s further back than we would like but there have been some pretty good results from this far back this season.”
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 53.860s
2. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 54.455s
3. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 54.960s
4. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 55.143s
5. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 55.637s
6. Felipe Massa Brazil Williams-Mercedes 1m 56.147s
7. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Mercedes 1m 56.282s
8. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 56.366s
9. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Renault 1m 56.773s
10. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 57.079s
11. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 56.860s
12. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 56.963s
13. Daniil Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso-Renault 1m 57.289s
14. Adrian Sutil Germany Sauber-Ferrari 1m 57.393s
15. Kevin Magnussen Denmark McLaren-Mercedes 1m 57.675s
16. Sergio Perez Mexico Force India-Mercedes 1m 58.264s
17. Esteban Gutierrez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 58.988s
18. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Caterham-Renault 1m 59.260s
19. Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Ferrari 1m 59.326s
20. Marcus Ericsson Sweden Caterham-Renault 2m 00.646s
21. Max Chilton Briton Marussia-Ferrari 2m 00.865s
22. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Lotus-Renault no time Q1*
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