Lewis Hamilton continued to set the pace in free practise 2 as Nico Rosberg crashed out in damp conditions whilst testing the new, shorter nose.
A downpour between sessions meant that the drivers were out on intermediate tyres for the second practice session in Australia, meaning tha fastest lap by Hamilton was considerably down on his P1 effort, finishing with a 1:38.841. The damp conditions led to Nico Rosberg slapping the wall at turn 7 during a run in which he was testing a variation of the shorter nose, something Mercedes haven’t run to now. Rosberg was able to continue on the lap, however abandoned it further around the circuit when the wing lodged under the car and was told to pull over.
A surprise second place was held by Nico Hulkenberg, still only .467 behind the fastest time by Lewis Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen showing that the Ferrari will certainly be continuing at the front of the field in third with a 1:39:486.
Red Bull showed strongly again with Daniel Ricciardo in 4th, followed closely by Carlos Sainz in the sister Toro Rosso. Something everyone is pleased to see was the strong showing by the Mclarens, coming in 6th & 7th for Alonso and Button respectively, with only a tenth separating the pair.
Vettel, Perez and Kyvat rounded out the top 10, finishing up with a 3.5 second gap separating 1st & 10th place.
Weather Shaking Things Up
One thing we can be sure of, is that the Mercedes is fast regardless of conditions, and that it will be tough for the teams to keep themselves in contention. The damp conditions meant that there was very little running, and although we were not yet able to see the full extent of the new Renault power units it is safe to say that the Red Bull once again has a strong chassis that comes good in inclement conditions.
The Haas and Manor drivers had a strong showing, which may be a sign that they could be closer to the midfield than expected, with Gutierrez finishing in 11th, only .5 down on the Red Bull of Kyvat.
Full Timing Sheet:
|2||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1'39.308||0.467|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1'39.535||0.694|
|5||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1'39.694||0.853|
|9||Sergio Pérez||Force India/Mercedes||1'41.256||2.415|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1'42.411||3.570|