Hamlin, one of the last cars to go out in the final round of qualifying, posted an average lap speed of 180.751 mph – the fastest lap of the day – and held on to win the pole for Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
The pole is the first of the 2023 season for Hamlin, 37th of his career and – remarkedly – the first in his career on a superspeedway.
Ford driver Aric Almirola will line up second (180.642 mph) and Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Ty Gibbs, was third (180.594 mph).
Ford drivers Chase Briscoe and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 lineup are Christopher Bell, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kyle Larson (the lone Chevrolet in the top-10) and Chris Buescher.
Fords and Toyotas dominated the first round of qualifying with Ford driver Briscoe with the fastest average speed (179.730 mph).
Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Gibbs (179.689 mph) and Hamlin (179.635 mph) ended up second and third respectively.
Almirola was fourth and Truex fifth.
Also advancing to the final round were Blaney, Logano, Bell, Buescher and Larson, driving the only Chevrolet in the top-10.
Among those who failed to advance to the final round were Kevin Harvick, Tyler Reddick, Daytona 500 winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and three Hendrick Motorsports cars – William Byron, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott.
Austin Cindric qualified 15th but will have to start Sunday’s race from the rear of the field due to unapproved adjustments to his No. 2 Penske Ford.