Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg claimed pole position on Saturday for the Japanese Grand Prix, beating teammate Lewis Hamilton and putting himself in good position to regain the Formula One championship lead.

Rosberg claimed his ninth pole of the season with a time of 1 minute, 32.506 seconds at Suzuka, 0.197 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Williams' driver Valtteri Bottas was third followed by teammate Felipe Massa.

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was fifth and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo qualified sixth for a race which is expected to be affected by a powerful typhoon in the region.

Saturday's qualifying was overshadowed by news earlier in the day that four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel will leave Red Bull at the end of the 2014