The second practice session at Yas Marina Circuit concluded with Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheets for Mercedes ahead of sole title Nico Rosberg.
Two duo were separated by just one tenth of a second with Hamilton clocking a laptime of 1:42.113. In the long runs, the Brit enjoyed a much bigger advantage with his average lap time being 47.599 as compared to Rosberg’s 47.847.
Hamilton is known for his supreme qualifying pace but we know Rosberg can pressurise the 2008 world champion to steal pole position, as he did in Brazil a fortnight ago. Starting ahead won’t alone do the job, the German will need some luck to ensure that Hamilton finished third or lower while he takes the top step of the podium.
Christian Horner, who continues to complain about the new generation of power units, will be happy to see his boys take the runners up spot to Mercedes again, after being beaten by Williams at Sau Paulo.
An important thing to note is that while Vettel’s race simulation was better than Rosberg, he did fewer laps than his fellow countrymen. After a point, Pirelli’s tyres tend to show a significant drop off in performance.
Williams were fifth and tenth quickest on a single lap in the afternoon but looked average when they put on race fuel. Not to forget the engine cover troubles they had during FP1. However, as we've seen many times this season, Williams tend to focus on aero work on Friday, and only show their true performance on Saturday morning. Rivals, hence should remain wary of the white cars with blue stripes.
McLaren tested a new Peter Prodomou designed front wing on Magnussen’s car in FP1. While the team were far off Mercedes pace, some improvements overnight will ensure a decent result at the final grand prix of the season.
The Toro Rosso STR9 looked more like a handy car over one lap. However, the Faenza based team tends to lose ground on Sunday due to lack of race pace compared to some of its rivals.