Chinese Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton narrowly beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen in the qualifying simulations as the top four were separated by one tenth of a second.
The battle between Formula One’s ‘top three’ teams appears to be closer than ever, with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull closely-matched on qualifying and race pace.
Mercedes’ Hamilton bettered his time from the morning session by registering a 1:33.482. Ferrari’s Raikkonen finished just seven thousandths of a second behind the Briton.
The Finn suffered early electrical problems, but encountered minimal delays whilst his team sorted the issue.
The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas set a time 0.033 of a second shy of his team-mate for third place, with the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel clocking a time just over one tenth of a second off Hamilton’s pace.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fifth-fastest and three-and-a-half tenths away from Hamilton, but team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was unable to set a competitive qualifying simulation, ending up ninth.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg finishied atop of the midfield battle ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and team-mate Carlos Sainz.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completed the top ten behind Ricciardo, but team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was forced to pull over during the session due to a loose wheel.
With temperatures and track conditions similar to the morning session, drivers continued to struggle for grip.
Williams’ Lance Stroll had a big spin on his qualifying simulation at the high-speed turn eight, whilst Haas’ Romain Grosjean fell foul of turn eleven, half-spinning his Haas car.
To view the full results from the second free practice session, click here.