Antonio Giovinazzi set a late-morning lap which gave Alfa Romeo Racing the accolade of setting the early pace in test two, albeit with lap times some way off the test one pace.
With the best lap times still over one second off the timesheet-topping pace seen at the end of test one, Giovinazzi took advantage of the C4 tyres to give the team a time good enough to top the session.
Despite his leading pace, his lap time was still shy of his own personal best time from test one, illustrating that much more pace is to come from the field.
He finished just a under one tenth of a second ahead of Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who both set their times on the C3 tyre compound.
Ferrari themselves had a slow start to testing, with Leclerc managing just a handful of laps in the first couple of hours. They managed 25 laps altogether, whilst Mercedes’ focus on longer runs meant that they were down in eighth place, but with a hefty 84 laps on the counter.
Of particular interest were the updates that the F1 teams brought for the second test, in an already-intensifying development race.
On the face of it, Mercedes appears to have been the most-evolved in between tests. The team brought updates to the front wing, floor, nose and side pods – a spec that’s likely to be much closer to the one used at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix – in a bid to extract more performance from their W10.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen completed the top five, with George Russell in sixth place in a more encouraging day for the Williams team, who completed 46 laps.
Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon was seventh, ahead of Hamilton and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
McLaren’s Lando Norris had the honour of being the only man to bring out the red flags in the first half of the day.
The MCL34 wound up in the gravel trap at turn four, but it’s not yet clear if this was down to driver error or car failure. The car was hoisted back to garage on a flatbed truck.