Lewis Hamilton took a commanding pole position at the first-ever Qatar Grand Prix to get the upper-hand in his quest to beat Max Verstappen and lift an eighth Formula One world title.

The reigning champion is currently 14 points behind the Dutchman in the drivers' championship but won in Brazil last weekend and had the beating of the Red Bull around the Lusail International Circuit.

With Mercedes showing their pace advantage in Saturday's final practice session, Hamilton would storm to pole under the lights in Doha with a time of one minute 20.827 - almost half a second faster than his main title protagonist, with Verstappen starting second.

"I think we were lacking a bit of pace," said Verstappen.

"It is a bit more tricky for us. We are struggling a bit more than normal but nevertheless we are second so it is all to play for."

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas will start third but Verstappen will have to battle the Mercedes duo alone as the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez was surprisingly eliminated during the second round of qualifying.