Rosberg Stays Fastest In FP2, But Hamilton Gets Closer

Nico Rosberg continued his strong morning showing by staying on top of the timesheets in FP2. His lead over team-mate Lewis Hamilton was more than halved, however, and Hamilton finished just a tenth shy of Rosberg’s time with the soft-compound runs completed in the afternoon.

With the track ‘rubbered in’, i.e. having more grip, after the first session, drivers began to push the limits a little harder on their laps. Alonso stand-in Kevin Magnussen was one of these drivers, but he stretched the limits too far and he skipped through the gravel at turn 5 before clouting the barriers as a result. The Dane was left with only a battered ego as a red flag was thrown to recover the damaged McLaren.

Other drivers who pushed the limits were a bit luckier: Carlos Sainz spun and continued at T15, Pastor Maldonado slid off-track at the same spot and his Lotus team-mate hobbled through the gravel at T3.

The Sauber drivers finally graced the track – their morning running hampered by the looming threat of Giedo van der Garde’s court case – but while Felipe Nasr’s first practice as an F1 driver was fairly straightforward, a problem on his left-rear tyre slowed Marcus Ericsson’s progress as he had to spend the rest of the session in the garage.

The Manor drivers were the only other team who failed to get their drivers on track for FP1 – and they had no success in getting drivers out for FP2. The team must completely reinstall software on the cars, meaning they will likely miss the Grand Prix on Sunday. Manor drivers Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi could do nothing but stand idly by as their cars were tinkered on.

Felipe Massa also missed the session as a water leak discovered before FP2 began restricted his car to the garage. The other Williams, piloted by Valtteri Bottas, went fifth fastest behind the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Although the Scuderia drivers temporarily went first and second when they swapped to the softer compound Pirelli, it seems already that Mercedes should claim the front row for themselves in Qualifying tomorrow.

Free Practice Two results:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Valtteri Bottas
  6. Daniil Kvyat
  7. Carlos Sainz
  8. Pastor Maldonado
  9. Romain Grosjean
  10. Nico Hulkenberg
  11. Felipe Nasr
  12. Sergio Perez
  13. Jenson Button
  14. Max Verstappen
  15. Marcus Ericsson
  16. Kevin Magnussen
  17. Daniel Ricciardo (NT)
  18. Felipe Massa (NT)
  19. Will Stevens (NT)
  20. Roberto Merhi (NT)

NT = No Time

Image courtesy of Mercedes F1 Team.

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