Lewis clocked in at one minute, 27.319 seconds. While Hamilton admitted his auto has been a handful at times this season, he said it has tended to be better to drive in qualifying trim, allowing him to rack up 10 poles so far in 2017.
However, the Finn who has been extremely vocal in criticising his own form since the summer break, was 0.985s off the pace in FP1, and one of 15 drivers who failed to post a timed lap in the second session.
"Of course, it was the right way to go", said a trenchant Lauda, who has always believed in pushing the limits to make progress. "His pure speed is just enormous", Rosberg said.
"Every single time I've struggled here with finding the right balance, often not starting on the front foot".
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leaves his auto after getting pole position for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, central Japan, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.
The time shattered seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher's previous outright best at the circuit by 1.6 seconds.
That said, the Ferrari, if it avoids more bad luck, looks enormous at the moment so I am going for a Vettel win with Hamilton competing with Raikkonen and the Red Bulls for the other podium positions.
Remarkably, it was Hamilton's first pole position at Suzuka and, if he drives like that in future years, it won't be his last. This year he came back from the August break by also winning in Belgium, Italy and Singapore.
"It's going to be a different view [from pole]", he added.
Sebastian Vettel will join his title rival on the front row after finishing third behind the Mercedes duo as the Ferraris had no answer to the Silver Arrows' pace.
Rosberg, last year's victor in Japan from pole, said he had been loving the battle between the rivals.
A heavy crash for Romain Grosjean at the top of the Esses in the closing stages of Q1 brought that segment to an early end, which prevented any of the lower runners from bettering their benchmark times. I was like, 'Let's just go, ' they were like, 'No, no we wait.' I was like, 'Look I want to go out, ' so they let me out.
'For us normally we are a bit stronger in the race compared to qualifying, so we get together and see what we can do at the start and during the race'. "Both have their strengths and weaknesses and it's cool how they have been playing out".