Lewis Hamilton has ended Friday’s second Free Practice session on top of the timesheets as his rivals hit trouble in preparation for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.

The Mercedes driver, who posted a lap of 1:37.583 on the Super Soft tyres, was six-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The German also set his fastest time on the Super Soft but ground to a halt on the start/finish straight just half an hour into the 90-minute session in with apparent electrical problems.

Hamilton’s teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg, fastest in this morning’s session, was third quickest but had potentially quicker times ruined by traffic on the circuit. He finished nine-tenths down on Hamilton and three-tenths ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen.

Red Bull Racing was on good form. Daniel Ricciardo was fifth-quickest and teammate Daniil Kvyat was just two-tenths slower. The pair sandwiched Williams’ Valtteri Bottas in sixth, while the Finn’s teammate Felipe Massa managed ninth-fastest, seemingly running a different programme to Bottas in this session.

McLaren rounded up the top ten with Jenson Button eighth-fastest, posting a 1:39.196, while Fernando Alonso was one spot and 0.204 seconds behind the Briton.

Scuderia Toro Rosso and Force India continued the ‘Noah’s Ark’ pattern as Carlos Sainz once again edged Max Verstappen, while Nico Hülkenberg resumed driving duties and posted the thirteenth-fastest time ahead of last year’s Russian podium-winning teammate Sergio Pérez.

Kevin Magnussen returned to his Renault after Sergey Sirotkin drove in FP1 to go fifteenth-fastest, outpacing teammate Jolyon Palmer in 18th. The Renaults sandwiched the Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez in 16th and 17th respectively. Grosjean feared that the problems he faced in China have not yet been resolved, complaining of “something wrong” with his car over the pit-to-car radio.

Sauber and Manor Racing occupied the last four spots on the timing screens some three to four seconds off the pace, with the Swiss team’s duo of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson sitting either side of Rio Haryanto and Pascal Wehrlein (whose car stopped towards the end of the session).

Drivers were busy making their race simulations with the Super Soft lasting around 15 laps and the Softs around 25 on the ultra-smooth track surface, This could make a one-stop strategy a very viable solution in Sunday’s race.

Driver Team / Entry Result Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid 1:37.583 30
2. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 0.652 10
3. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W07 Hybrid + 0.867 37
4. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H + 1.210 35
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.501 34
6. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 1.602 42
7. Daniil Kvyat ru Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB12 + 1.610 32
8. Jenson Button McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 1.613 31
9. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 + 1.706 38
10. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 + 1.817 30
11. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 1.882 37
12. Max Verstappen nl Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 + 1.918 30
13. Nico Hulkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 2.212 31
14. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 + 2.284 38
15. Kevin Magnussen dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 2.610 41
16. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 2.677 24
17. Esteban Gutiérrez Haas F1 Ferrari VF-16 + 2.925 26
18. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 + 3.105 37
19. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 3.157 31
20. Rio Haryanto id Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 3.497 38
21. Pascal Wehrlein de Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 + 3.565 23
22. Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 + 4.069 29

Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas

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Ahmad Shallouf

Contributing Writer at MotorsportM8