FP2: Two from two for Rosberg


Nico Rosberg narrowly pipped Lewis Hamilton to the P1 in Friday’s second practice for the Japanese GP, edging his championship rival by 0.072s.

Mercedes picked up where they left off in FP1 as Rosberg and Hamilton traded blows at the top of the timesheets in Friday’s second practice at Suzuka.

Rosberg initially went quickest on the medium tyres, a 1:33.758, only to be beaten by Hamilton.

The British driver clocked a 1:33.457 on the hard Pirellis to lead the way by 0.283s.

Red Bull Racing and Ferrari mixed it up behind them.

Max Verstappen on the hard tyres lined up in third place, a further 0.016s off the pace, while Sebastian Vettel was fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest.

Swapping to the soft tyres, Vettel showed his hand first, sliding up into P1 with a 1:33.103.

His time, though, was blitzed by Rosberg who clocked a 1:32.250 on his soft tyre run.

Hamilton slotted in behind his team-mate, 0.072s off the pace, while Raikkonen went third. The Finn was 0.323s down.

Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull ahead of Vettel while Sergio Perez claimed sixth place. Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top eight.

Ricciardo finished the afternoon down in 12th place after his soft tyre run was ruined by the Virtual Safety Car that came out for Esteban Gutierrez.

The Haas driver’s practice ended in the grass as he stopped his car on the approach to Degner. “Something broken,” he reported. He finished P17.

Daniil Kvyat had a bit of early drama as he made a massive spin out of the final corner. Somehow his Toro Rosso stayed off the walls and Kyvat was able to continue without any damage barring some badly flat-spotted tyres.

1 Rosberg Mercedes 1’32.250 35 laps
2 Hamilton Mercedes 1’32.322 +0.072 35 laps
3 Räikkönen Ferrari 1’32.573 +0.323 25 laps
4 Verstappen Red Bull 1’33.061 +0.811 28 laps
5 Vettel Ferrari 1’33.103 +0.853 34 laps
6 Perez Force India 1’33.570 +1.320 37 laps
7 Hülkenberg Force India 1’33.873 +1.623 36 laps
8 Alonso McLaren 1’33.985 +1.735 37 laps
9 Bottas Williams  1’34.028 +1.778 33 laps
10 Sainz Toro Rosso 1’34.086 +1.836 32 laps
11 Massa Williams 1’34.127 +1.877 32 laps
12 Ricciardo Red Bull 1’34.150 +1.900 28 laps
13 Grosjean Haas 1’34.241 +1.991 32 laps
14 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’34.305 +2.055 28 laps
15 Magnussen Renault 1’34.339 +2.089 36 laps
16 Button McLaren 1’34.398 +2.148 30 laps
17 Gutiérrez Haas 1’34.643 +2.393 12 laps
18 Palmer Renault 1’34.760 +2.510 40 laps
19 Nasr Sauber 1’34.824 +2.574 27 laps
20 Wehrlein Manor 1’35.292 +3.042 31 laps
21 Ocon Manor 1’35.400 +3.150 37 laps
22 Ericsson Sauber 1’36.318 +4.068 26 laps