Nico Rosberg was narrowly faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the second practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix. The Mercedes duo after being clearly fastest in first practice was .3 of a second faster than Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton was running the engine he used in Singapore following his retirement on Sunday in Malaysia, when his engine blew up while leading the race. The brit can only be certain of winning the world championship this year only if he wins all five of the remaining races.
Rain is expected overnight and the forecast looks uncertain as is the case at this time of year in Japan. Rain would certainly mix things up for Red Bull giving them a better chance of racing at the front. Max Verstappen was fourth in between the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Verstappen looked good on his long runs which could put Red Bull in the mix in the race. The Dutch teenager suggested that long-run pace to suggest that Mercedes’ single-lap pace advantage wouldn’t necessarily be carried over to race day. “We looked very good on the hard tyres,” acknowledged Verstappen.
Daniel Ricciardo was twelfth after his qualifying simulations were intrupted by the Virtual Safety Car. The VSC had been deployed after the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas broke down.
Ferrari’s race pace is unknown after the team chose to run off the normal tyre strategy which you would expect in practice. The team has also brought a new front wing which may put them into the mix this weekend, however Finn was complaining of a lack of front grip on his race run.
Force India continue to cerement there place as the fourth fastest team with Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg in sixth and seventh place. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso kept the great form the team has been showing latey by being in the top ten. Unlike Jenson Button who struggled, ending the day sixteenth after failing to set a clean lap.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat provided the only drama after spinning 360 degrees after touching the grass at the last corner. Rosberg also provided a twist but the billowing smoke turned out to be nothing.