Brazilian GP | Narrow margins split Hamilton from Rosberg in FP2

Lewis Hamilton tops second free practice at the Brazil Grand Prix.

Long runs completed, tyres flat spotted, and Hamilton remains quickest. Second free practice at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where narrow margins split Hamilton from Rosberg and Bottas from Massa and Ricciardo. 

From topping the morning session to topping the afternoon session, Hamilton kicks off an important weekend in the title race as the fastest man in Sao Paulo.

Straight out the blocks for Mercedes, Hamilton was the fastest man at Interlagos. Lapping fastest in the first and middle sectors to better Rosberg by two-tenths and create a six-tenths gap to Ricciardo.

Rosberg had wanted to run another lap at the time, posing the question “there’s no downside to trying another one, is there?” to his team – who left the decision to Nico as they looked to preserve engine mileage.

Daniel Ricciardo had set the early pace with the mediums tyres prior to the Silver Arrows running. Seeing Verstappen’s time bettered by four-hundredths of a second as the narrow margins began to show.

At the time, Vettel was well placed as well as the German ran just a tenth of a second behind the ‘Bulls.

As for Raikkonen, the Finn was coming under scrutiny for cutting across the path of Carlos Sainz as he made his way into the pits. Earlier in his lap, Carlos had overtaken the Ferrari when Kimi made a mistake before then continuing on ahead of Raikkonen. The incident is set to be investigated after the session.

Following the lull between tyre compounds being switched, Daniel Ricciardo was back out on track to lower the benchmark by three tenths of a second to Hamilton. Daniel was a slender tenth of a second up on Lewis’ medium tyre time through the middle sector but found a further two-tenths through the middle sector despite suffering from a bit of understeer. Finding nine-tenths himself between compounds.

As for Raikkonen, he found 1.3 seconds between his first and second runs. But for Kimi, his first run was carried out on the hard compound tyres.

Once again, however, the gap between Ricciardo and Mercedes was soon opened up. With Hamilton and Rosberg both improving, despite neither going faster in the first sector than the Red Bull.

This time, the gap between Rosberg and Hamilton would end at a slim three-hundredths of a second. With Hamilton making up his time in the final sector following Rosberg’s rapid middle sector.

Despite usually having poor Friday’s, Williams ended Friday high in the standings in third and fourth place – with home favourite Felipe Massa trailing his team-mate by two-hundredths of a second.

Bottas had popped the Williams up the leaderboard for third place while medium tyres were reaching their final flyers. Running just eight-hundredths down on Ricciardo.

On softs, meanwhile, it was Massa going top. Marginally up in sector one and three to go top despite a slow middle sector.

Kevin Magnussen had been the first driver to head out of the pits in FP2. With Magnussen’s car repaired following Sirotkin’s FP1 run out that only lasted half an hour before a fuel pressure problem brought the car to a stop.

In FP2, Fernando Alonso’s McLaren was brought to an early halt when an ERS issue forced the Spaniard to jump out the car.

A year ago, at the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix, when Alonso’s McLaren broke down Fernando opted for a track side deck chair to watch the remainder of the session. While this year the Spaniard opted for a deck chair based at one of the TV camera’s as Alonso tried his hand at camera operation.

Jenson Button’s 2016 FP2 also came to an early end as the Briton reported  “three red lights” on his dashboard before pitting the car with an exhaust problem.

Pos Driver Team Laps Time Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 41 1’12.271
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 40 1’12.301 0.03
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 47 1’12.761 0.49
4 Felipe Massa Williams 43 1’12.789 0.518
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 43 1’12.828 0.557
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 45 1’12.928 0.657
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 45 1’13.002 0.731
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 24 1’13.047 0.776
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 42 1’13.299 1.028
10 Jenson Button McLaren 19 1’13.440 1.169
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 18 1’13.572 1.301
12 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 46 1’13.689 1.418
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 47 1’13.801 1.53
14 Sergio Perez Force India 38 1’13.918 1.647
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 35 1’14.074 1.803
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 47 1’14.109 1.838
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 40 1’14.309 2.038
18 Esteban Ocon Manor 46 1’14.317 2.046
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 43 1’14.436 2.165
20 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 42 1’14.558 2.287
21 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 21 1’14.695 2.424
22 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 22 1’14.958 2.687