Britain's Lewis Hamilton clocked a fastest lap of 1 minute 10.736 in Sao Paulo to put the pressure on Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. The German driver can claim his maiden Formula One title with a race win on Sunday.
Victory at Interlagos will secure the title for Rosberg but anything less could give Hamilton a chance going in to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on November 27. The Briton finished 0.102 seconds ahead of his rival on the 4.309-kilometre circuit to claim his third successive pole - and the 60th of his career.
As has often been the case this season, the Mercedes pair were well clear of their rivals, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen third, more than half a second further back, ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo will be on the third row on the grid.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean was seventh for Haas ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, with double world champion Fernando Alonso taking 10th for McLaren.
Despite the potential for rain on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Hamilton remains confident.
"I don't really mind what the weather brings tomorrow. I'll be ready for anything," he said. "Nico's been getting quicker and quicker but I've had him covered so far. It's remarkable what this team has achieved."
With a first championship tantalisingly close, Rosberg is determined not to let his starting position determine his fate.
"It was very close. Lewis was just marginally quicker in the end," the 31-year-old said. "Pole isn't always the guy who wins the race. I want to try and win tomorrow."