Chinese Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the FP2 qualifying simulations, narrowly ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.
In a better showing compared to their free practice one pace, Mercedes topped the second free practice session, with Bottas setting the fastest time of the weekend with a 1:33.330.
This lap was just 0.027 faster than FP1 pace-setter Vettel, and one-quarter of a second faster than Red Bull’s Verstappen, who declared at the end of the session that “something felt broken” on his RB15.
Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying simulation lap was interrupted when he encountered debris from Romain Grosjean’s Haas, which suffered from a broken front wing when going over the bumps in the circuit.
No harm came to Hamilton’s Mercedes, however, and he finished fourth fastest, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg going fifth, three-quarters of a second off the pace.
In a competitive showing for McLaren, Carlos Sainz set the sixth fastest time, with team-mate Lando Norris in eighth, separated by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who abandoned his flying lap.
Added to that, Leclerc’s FP2 session came to an early end after Ferrari decided to undertake a cooling systems check, ruling the Monegasque driver out of the longer race simulations.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly completed the top ten, both around one second off the ultimate pace.
Daniil Kvyat’s practice session was hampered by a power unit issue in his Toro Rosso. The team reported that “an anomaly” had been found in the data and a new Honda power unit was being put into the car as a precautionary measure.
He was out for around half of the session, but managed to make up for lost time in the second half of FP2.