Lewis Hamilton continues at top in China as Ferrari close the gap

Following his dominant FP1 performance in China, Lewis Hamilton continued at the top of the times in FP2 but Ferrari managed to reduce the gap. It was Kimi Raikkonen who ended the session second just four tenths down on the Silver Arrow.

Roberto Merhi was first out on track for Manor as the team continued to get more running under their belt. They will be hoping to get both cars onto the starting grid on Sunday following Will Stevens’ failure to start the Malaysia Grand Prix due to a fuel pump problem. He was quickly joined by team-mate Stevens and Raikkonen in the Ferrari. Romain Grosjean also got his first running of the weekend having given his car to Jolyon Palmer for FP1.

Raikkonen reported to his team that he was struggling with brakes in the early phases of FP2. Team-mate Sebastian Vettel suffered a spin but continued on his way. Force India driver Sergio Perez encountered rear brake issues during the session. Another team experiencing brake problems were Red Bull who returned to Brembo brakes this week following issues in Malaysia. Daniil Kvyat was asked to return the car slowly to the pits following a smoking rear brake, however he did not make it to the pit-lane following complete brake failure. He made light contact with a wall and brought out a yellow flag. Another driver whose running was brought to an early end was Stevens, following just six laps, due to a power unit problem.

After the initial early running it was Nico Rosberg who led the order ahead of Raikkonen, Vettel and Grosjean. Hamilton soon headed the times, however, going a tenth faster than his team-mate. When the soft tyres went on the cars Raikkonen was the first to set a flying lap. Rosberg and Vettel could not better his time but Hamilton could. There was a brief red flag period following an off by the Williams of Felipe Massa. It hampered Daniel Ricciardo’s first run of the session but his eventual first flyer was enough to see him go seventh fastest. Following the soft tyre flurry attention turned to longer runs.

Free practice two times:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – 1:37.219 – 32 laps
  2. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:37.662 – 35 laps
  3. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:38.311 – 24 laps
  4. Sebastian Vettel – 1:38.339 – 30 laps
  5. Nico Rosberg – 1:38.399 – 35 laps
  6. Daniil Kvyat – 1:38.737 – 10 laps
  7. Valtteri Bottas – 1:38.850 – 27 laps
  8. Felipe Nasr – 1:39.032 – 26 laps
  9. Romain Grosjean – 1:39.142 – 32 laps
  10. Jenson Button – 1:39.275 – 29 laps
  11. Pastor Maldonado – 1:39.444 – 30 laps
  12. Fernando Alonso – 1:39.743 – 27 laps
  13. Marcus Ericsson – 1:39.751 – 33 laps
  14. Max Verstappen – 1:39.894 – 32 laps
  15. Carlos Sainz – 1:39.971 – 28 laps
  16. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:40.151 – 28 laps
  17. Felipe Massa – 1:40.423 – 7 laps
  18. Sergio Perez – 1:40.868 – 24 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:42.973 – 27 laps
  20. Will Stevens – 1:44.564 – 8 laps
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