Formula 1 record world champion Lewis Hamilton starts from pole position in the first Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia and continues to feed his hopes for the eighth title win.

The English Mercedes star relegated his team-mate Valtteri Bottas (Finland) and world championship leader Max Verstappen (Netherlands / Red Bull) to the places in qualifying in Jeddah.

For Hamilton it is the 103rd Formula 1 pole and the fifth of the season.

Verstappen was on course for the best time of the day, but in the last corner he lost control of his Red Bull and hit the side of the track. Former world champion Sebastian Vettel did not get past 17th place in the Aston Martin, he failed for the third time this season in the first qualifying segment. Haas driver Mick Schumacher starts from 19th place.

Verstappen is eight points ahead of the seven-time champion Hamilton in the penultimate race of the season on Sunday (6.30 p.m. CET in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1, on RTL and Sky).

If the Dutchman has 18 more points than the Briton, he will be world champion prematurely for the first time.

Otherwise, the decision will be made in Abu Dhabi on December 12th.

Mercedes, on the other hand, can make the eighth constructors' title in a row, but the team is only five points ahead of Red Bull.