Nico Rosberg outpaced Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix as he seeks to bounce back from losing the drivers' championship leadership.

German Rosberg, who trails Hamilton by three points in the championship with five races remaining, lapped 0.197 seconds quicker than the Briton as the feuding rivals prepare to lock horns again in a race which could be threatened by typhoon rains. Rosberg clocked a best lap of 1min 32.506sec in the final moments of a tense qualifying session at the iconic Suzuka circuit on Saturday.

It was his first pole in Japan and eighth of the Formula One season and an important boost after being forced to drop out of the Singapore Grand Prix two weeks ago and letting Hamilton in front. "I am not thinking about Singapore any more, only racing here and enjoying doing the job here," Rosberg told reporters. "We're here at Suzuka and I'm trying to win. It was great today but that's only one step on the way.