The Finn set a lap record with a 1:36.231 second on the 5.6km Yas Marina circuit. He was 0.172 seconds ahead of Hamilton and about half a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton, who secured his fourth world title two races ago, led on the first two split times but lost time on the final sector. A fault at the final turn saw Hamilton run wide and lose time.
Red Bull speedy Daniel Ricciardo made fourth fastest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with his final qualifying lap, Max Verstappen had a tough qualifying in the second Red Bull, finishing over a second off Bottas in sixth, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg ending the session as the leading midfielder in P7.
Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon made eighth and ninth place on the grid respectively, while Felipe Massa will start his final F1 grand prix from P10 on the grid after barging his way through to Q3 at the expense of Fernando Alonso.
Both McLaren drivers dropped out in Q2, the final qualifying with Honda resulted an unhappy moment, Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne finishing 11th and 13th respectively.
Yas Marina Q3 result gives Mercedes their 50th front row lock-out in Formula 1.
“Things were getting better and better for me in practice and also in qualifying,” Bottas said. “It was all under control, I managed to find time, and it just felt very good with the car.
“I was gutted in Brazil at the last race after being on pole position and missing out on the win so I have got a clear target for tomorrow.”
Hamilton added: “What a lap – Valtteri just had an incredible qualifying – so congratulations to him. I gave it everything, but he did an exceptional job.”
Vettel: “I’m getting better and I think it was a good session. A bit of a shame to be that far back but tomorrow, race pace I think we can be a bit closer but they’ve been very strong.
“Valtteri had a mega lap so congratulations to him. It should be a fun race.”