Hamilton leads Rosberg by just 0.079s in FP2

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton maintained his place at the top of the standings in second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading Nico Rosberg by 0.079s.

Having been quickest during the opening session of the title showdown at the Yas Marina Circuit, Hamilton set the pace on the ultrasoft tyre on Friday evening, posting a 1:40.861. Rosberg had failed to improve on his soft tyre lap in first practice - leading to a gap of over 0.3s between the two championship contenders - but he hit back in FP2 to post a 1:40.940.

Sebastian Vettel was third quickest for Ferrari with an impressive lap of 1:41.130. Just a quarter of a second off Hamilton's pace, Vettel suggested the title rivals could have two teams to worry about after Red Bull was the nearest challenger in the opening session. However, the German's session ended early has he was forced to stop between turns 18 and 19 below the Yas Viceroy hotel with a suspected gearbox failure.

Max Verstappen was fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, with the two Red Bull drivers separated by just 0.001s, but over half a second slower than Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen was less than 0.1s further back in sixth place, and the Finn was also the last driver within a second of the Mercedes pace.

Track conditions were much more representative for all the teams in FP2, which started at 1700 - the same time as both qualifying and the race - and continued through sunset and finished in darkness.

Valtteri Bottas was seventh for Williams, less than 0.1s clear of Sergio Perez in the Force India, with Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa rounding out the top ten ahead of the McLaren pair of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Having missed out on a lot of running in FP1, Button was again slow out of the blocks in FP2 but recovered to complete 24 laps.

The bottom 12 cars were all in team order save for Jolyon Palmer in 15th and Kevin Magnussen in 20th place, some 0.7s apart. The two Toro Rosso drivers ended the session at the bottom of the times following concerns regarding their cars, with Daniil Kvyat suffering his second left rear puncture of the day.

The first failure saw Kvyat complete just four laps and he managed the same in FP2 as another puncture saw the Russian spin off at high speed at Turn 16. While lucky to not hit the barrier, Kvyat limped back to the pits and didn't run again as FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer inspected the car, with Carlos Sainz also stopping running after just five laps.

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Pos Driver Team Time Laps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:40.861 36
02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.940 38
03 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:41.130 31
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:41.389 24
05 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:41.390 33
06 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:41.464 34
07 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:41.959 35
08 Sergio Perez Force India 1:42.041 35
09 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:42.264 36
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:42.268 36
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:42.366 33
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:42.823 24
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:43.012 35
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:43.108 17
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:43.272 33
16 Esteban Ocon Manor 1:43.600 35
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:43.754 33
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:43.903 36
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:44.045 34
20 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:44.117 25
21 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:44.478 5
22 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:45.948 4