Rosberg turns the tables on Hamilton in FP2

© XPB 

Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of second practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix as Mercedes opened up a clear advantage over Ferrari.

While it was Lewis Hamilton who led his Mercedes team-mate by half a second in FP1, Rosberg matched that result in the afternoon session as he ended up with a similar margin at the top of the times. Sebastian Vettel had been just 0.1s slower than Rosberg in first practice but saw that gap widen to almost a second on the soft tyre runs in FP2.

Kimi Raikkonen was another 0.2s back from his Ferrari team-mate in fourth place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas during a tricky afternoon of running due to the threat of rain.

Light spots of rain fell throughout the majority of the 90-minute session, but the track temperature was high enough to not require drivers to switch from the slick tyres. However, the slightly greasier track conditions led to a number of spinners, with Alexander Rossi sliding at Turn 3 before Max Verstappen had his second spin of the day, this time at Turn 8.

Bottas was another driver to spin as he lost control at Turn 9, before pace-setter Rosberg then ran very deep at Turn 12 and had to slowly return to the track across the grass run-off area.

While Mercedes extended its advantage over the rest of the field, the midfield pack was closely matched on a short circuit as 0.6s covered Ricciardo in fifth place to Verstappen in 14th. Lotus will be encouraged by Romain Grosjean ending the session seventh quickest ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in eighth, Daniil Kvyat in ninth and Felipe Massa tenth.

McLaren dropped further off the pace than it had been in FP1 and there were more reliability worries for the team as Fernando Alonso stopped on track. Alonso had completed just 10 laps when smoke began emerging from the rear of the car and he had to pull over, bringing out the red flags while the stricken McLaren was recovered.

Long runs focused on tyre degradation, with Red Bull telling Ricciardo that a number of drivers were struggling to make the soft tyre last, while Verstappen complained of his medium tyres quickly running out of performance.

AS IT HAPPENED: Brazilian Grand Prix FP2

FP1 report: Hamilton 0.5s clear in first Brazilian practice

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Pos Driver Team Time Laps
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:12.385 42
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.843 39
03 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:13.345 41
04 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:13.500 43
05 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:13.585 39
06 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:13.603 37
07 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.634 45
08 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:13.710 43
09 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:13.848 40
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:13.870 42
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:14.056 34
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:14.124 42
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:14.134 44
14 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:14.226 35
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:14.326 45
16 Jenson Button McLaren 1:14.644 37
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:14.772 38
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:15.129 10
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:16.501 35
20 Alexander Rossi Manor 1:16.787 35