The McLaren driver, 62 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso, improved his title chances by topping qualifying at the Hungaroring on Saturday.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean will start the race from second position, with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel third.
Hamilton had looked strong in practice on Friday and he mastered conditions of around 30 degrees at the circuit near Budapest today to make sure of the 22nd pole of his career and the 150th for his team.
Grosjean, eighth in the standings, pipped defending champion Vettel to the second place on the grid.
It capped a disappointing day for Red Bull, who hold a 53-point advantage in the constructors standings.
Vettel's team-mate, Mark Webber, will start 11th on the grid. His title chances had earlier taken a knock when he was pipped to a top 10 spot by Bruno Senna.
Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button starts fourth, with Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) in fifth.
Championship leader Alonso, who holds a 34-point lead over Webber at the top of the standings, is behind Raikkonen on row three.
Alonso's Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa starts seventh, with Williams duo Pastor Maldonado and Senna eighth and ninth and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) completing the top 10.
Hamilton, whose time of one minute 20.953 seconds compared favourably to Grosjean's 1:21.366secs, told the post-race press conference: "The mechanics did an excellent job...but we're not relaxed about things.
"We know we've got a lot of work to do and we know we've got to make sure that starts this weekend."
Vettel, who started this race from the front in 2010 and 2011, did not have things his own way in Q1, where he finished 17th.
Post-race the defending champion said: "Through qualifying I think things got better but I knew we only had one set of tyres in Q3.
"I think Romain was within reach but Lewis was a bit too far away today. With the progress we've made this morning we should be in a good position in the race."
However, team-mate Webber said: "I was happy this morning and was quick in Q1 but didn't feel happy on the last set of soft tyres. That's how it goes."
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Asked by Sky Sports News what it would take to improve his title chances, the Red Bull driver said: "Rain."
Alonso's opinion was the same, although he acknowledged the 11th-placed start of Webber was good news for him.
The Spaniard explained: "We were not in a position to be as quick as the leaders here.
"Victory tomorrow will be difficult for us - we need a strange race or maybe some wet conditions. But at the moment we're happy with sixth."
Button said: "I was much happier with the car in qualifying - but I was nowhere near as good as my team-mate in Q1.
"I'm disappointed third place got taken away at the end because the circuit is normally cleaner that side."
Paul di Resta, Nico Rosberg, Sergio Perez, Kamui Kobayashi, Jean-Eric Vergne and Michael Schumacher had earlier joined Webber in being knocked out in Q2.
Daniel Ricciardo, Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Charles Pic, Timo Glock, Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan all bowed out after Q1.