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Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg led from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen followed by the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in the second free practice session here on Friday.
However, the outcome of the qualifying simulations done by teams was not truly representative, as both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel failed to do a good lap on their respective simulation runs.
Hamilton made quite a few mistakes on his ultrasoft tyre runs and did not set a time on the fastest tyre available this weekend.
The reigning champion was only seventh fastest behind Vettel and the Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg. Things looked grim for the reigning champion as he then had to stop his run 25 minutes before the end of the session due to a hydraulic issue.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was ninth quickest, sandwiched between the Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz in eighth and Daniil Kvyat in tenth with the other Force India of Sergio Perez 11th.
Force India, which is locked in a close battle with Williams for the fourth place in the constructors championship, will be pleased to have both its drivers ahead of the Williams, which could only post the 14th and 15th fastest times with Felipe Massa ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
Earlier, in the first practice session held on Friday evening, Verstappen led teammate Red Bull’s Ricciardo.
Vettel was third quickest ahead of the Mercedes’s Hamilton and Rosberg with Raikkonen rounding off the top six.
The German, towards the end of the session, hit the barrier at turn 18, breaking his front wing. While Hamilton’s time was six-tenths slower than Verstappen’s, both the Mercedes’s time were set on the soft tyres, the hardest available compound this weekend while the Red Bulls and Ferraris set their times on the quicker ultrasoft tyres.