Kimi Raikkonen set the pace during FP2 ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton’s title rival Sebastian Vettel didn’t set a fast time due to a knock against the barrier ending his session early on.
Free practice two was a much more representative session due to FP1 being run during the day. The first runs got underway with the top six drivers all taking turns at the top of the timing sheets, Ferrari and Red Bull eventually showing their edge over Mercedes who were cut slightly adrift at the end of the first few laps.
A moment for Hamilton at turn 14 saw the Mercedes driver lock-up and almost run into the back of Vettel which could have been catastrophic for both drivers’ preparations for the weekend and made for a very interesting weekend.
Hamilton made another mistake as the second runs began, running too deep into turn one and had to get out of the brakes to avoid flat-spotting a second set of tyres.
Mercedes and Ferrari began to stretch their legs and left Red Bull behind in a reverse from FP1, both Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen off the pace of the top two teams.
Vettel was pushing the boundaries also, hitting the barriers with a firm thump but pitting straight away to check for any damage rather than finishing his lap, a lucky boy to not sustain any more damage than he did.
The Ferrari mechanics immediately swarmed the right rear of the car to assess any damage whilst a leak of some sort was mopped up in the Ferrari pit box that Vettel’s car had leaked upon returning to the pits.
It meant that Vettel was forced out of the car as drivers began their long-runs and without setting a fast lap in FP2.
Lance Stroll was the next driver to suffer an issue, his right rear brake on fire as he was part-way through a race sim forcing him to box.
Verstappen reported another engine issue over team radio but wasn’t sure what exactly he had felt in the car, Red Bull with yet more work to figure out the new upgraded Renault power unit.
Marcus Ericsson suffered a spin late on in the session but managed to keep his Sauber out of the barriers unlike his Ferrari-bound teammate in FP1.
The session wound to a close with Verstappen still reporting engine issues that Red Bull will need to diagnose overnight before qualifying.