The momentum man in Sao Paulo continues to be Nico Rosberg after the German topped the second free practice session, whilst team-mate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton was forced into settling for second best once more.
Back in FP1 earlier in the day, Rosberg was able to find the time around the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace to top the session by two tenths of a second to Hamilton. Behind the Mercedes came Kvyat in his Toro Rosso as the Russian led the rest.
After sitting out FP1, Vergne and Perez returned to action in place of Verstappen and Juncadella. However Perez saw no action early on in FP2 after complicated repairs to the car following Juncadella’s crash left the mechanics at work to the rear of his Force India.
Come 2pm in Brazil, the green light flicked on and the session was underway with Gutierrez taking on some early mileage before posting the first lap time, a 1:18:173.
Gutierrez had been forced into missing most of FP1 and was taking things slow at the start of FP2, which left his early time as no challenge to beat and the early benchmark began to fall.
As the minutes began to tick by, more and more drivers hit the track. But for Jean-Eric Vergne, his session was over after just ten minutes.
Jump back a few minutes and JEV was reporting a lot of vibrations at the front end, especially when he hit the brakes. But ten minutes into the session, he lost all power and parked his Toro Rosso at turn 4. Unfortunately the car was stuck in gear and the marshals struggled to move the stricken Toro Rosso, leading to the session being red flagged.
Luckily the marshals managed to move the car soon after and the session was back underway a few minutes later. Now another driver was facing a premature end to their session as Gutierrez was told that he had a MGU-K problem.
Meanwhile, the fastest driver on the track was once again Nico Rosberg as the German posted the new fastest lap of the session with a 1:14:681.
With Rosberg at the top, Hamilton was pushing hard to find some pace against his team-mate. However, Lewis had to settle for third as Ricciardo moved on top despite a lively rear end. Ricciardo would not stay top for long however, as Hamilton flew around the middle sector on a flying lap that moved his Silver Arrow into P1.
As the opening half hour came to a close, a slight mix up between Hamilton and Raikkonen almost left the Mercedes crawling back to the pits. Both drivers had begun to make their way around turn 8, however Hamilton moved onto the inside as he slowed down and rode the kerb in order to allow Raikkonen by. Despite this Kimi’s Ferrari edged towards the apex of the corner, leaving a small gap between the cars.
Now into the final hour, teams began to bolt on the soft compound tyres. One of the early runners on the yellow branded Pirelli tyres was Daniel Ricciardo.
With the faster compound of tyres bolted onto his Red Bull, Ricciardo was able to regain his earlier spot at the top with a 1:12:956. However, despite lapping the circuit quickest of all, he struggled to slow down and was forced into taking to the grass across turn 1.
Once drivers had the soft tyres fitted to their cars they were able to find a range of time with some improving by a few tenths to some improving by over a second on their first flying lap.
For the Mercedes duo, Rosberg found the necessary improvement to regain P1 from Ricciardo after finding around a second. Whereas Lewis could only take second place on his first lap after running wide at turn 11.
Lewis continued to struggle with keeping his car on track at the start of his next lap but it was becoming clear that the soft tyre are fastest on the first flying lap. Although this did not prevent Hamilton from reducing the deficit to his team-mate before returning to the pits.
With the first hour approaching its climax, Kimi Raikkonen was able to move his Ferrari into the top three. However, things were far from perfect for the Finn as just moments later, he was heading on an adventure across he grass down at turn 12 after running wide.
Compare this to his team-mate and Kimi’s problems seemed like nothing as just a few minutes later, Alonso was parking his car just after turn 3.
The clock was just five minutes into the final half hour and Fernando’s Ferrari was billowing smoke as flames began to blaze at the rear of his car. With the need to recover the car, the red flags were waving once more to stop the session whilst Alonso set about extinguishing the flames.
As the clock flicked onto 16 minutes remaining, the session was back underway but the drivers would only see two minutes of running before another red flagged stopped play.
This time Esteban Gutierrez was forced to park his Sauber just after the pit exit. But despite the Mexican being closer to the pit exit and further onto the grass, the red flag was out once more. Both these red flags late on in the session would have caused havoc with the teams as they would have interrupted with any race simulations.
Now just nine minutes remained on the clock when the track was green once more. With all 14 drivers still able to run in the second free practice session taking to the track.
Despite just a handful of minutes remaining there was plenty of time left for the drivers to experience difficult levels of grips as their tyres began to approach the end of their lives.
But come the chequered flag it was another Mercedes one-two led by Rosberg. Hamilton finished the session two tenths down on his team-mate once more, whilst Raikkonen rounded off the top 3 three tenths back.
FP2 was not a great session for McLaren with Magnussen in 10th their best result after Button ended the session in 16th. Force India also failed to impress in the session with Hulkenberg in 13th, 1.7 seconds off Rosberg’s pace, whilst Perez was unable to complete a single lap.
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:12.956||0.833||24|
|9||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:13.333||1.210||28|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.882||1.759||32|
|18||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||No time||0|