Following a mixed opening session, Mercedes revealed their speed in the desert heat during more representative conditions in Friday’s second practice. Rosberg finished P1 one tenth clear of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes responded to Ferrari’s FP1 pace and recorded this Friday’s best time on 1m 34.647 on the option tyre, and secured the front row of the session, followed by the Ferraris with Raikkonen ahead of Vettel.
Speaking of Sebastian, his practice turned sour during the final minutes when he collided with Force India’s Sergio Perez. The German exited the pits and suffered some brake issue, made contact with the back of Perez’s car and damaged his front wing.
After the session the stewards decided no further action was necessary on the Vettel-Perez incident, on grounds that neither was "wholly or predominantly to blame”.
Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen was also investigated for driving “in a potentially dangerous manner when leaving the Pit Lane.” Kimi received a reprimand (his first of the season) - a decision on Hamilton is yet to be taken.
Valtteri Bottas was best of the rest in fifth, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Pastor Maldonado, and Felipe Nasr. Lotus appears to keep improving and may well be in the top ten again this weekend.
The top ten on Friday’s second practice:
1. Rosberg — 1:34.647
2. Hamilton — +0.115
3. Raikkonen — +0.527
4. Vettel — +0.630
5. Bottas — +0.633
6. Ricciardo — +0.802
7. Maldonado — +0.827
8. Nasr — +1.146
9. Kvyat — +1.236
10. Massa — +1.237