After dominating opening practice at Interlagos, Lewis Hamilton doubled up by topping the afternoon timesheets at the São Paulo circuit, edging team-mate Valtteri Bottas by just under five hundredths of a second.
However, whereas Hamilton enjoyed a half second advantage over Ferrari’s third-placed Kimi Räikkönen in the morning session, afternoon practice was tighter, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finishing just 0.228 behind four-time champion Hamilton after the drivers had completed their performance runs during the 90-minute session.
In the morning Hamilton had led the way early in the session on soft tyres and e repeated the process in the afternoon, setting a time of 1:09.742on the yellow-banded tyres.
Räikkönen was the first to make the move to supersofts but his effort was only good enough to claim third pace behind Hamilton and Bottas. Mercedes’ Finn then bolted on the red-banded compound and he promptly vaulted into top spot.
Hamilton failed to make the most of his first quick lap on supersofts but on his second run he made no mistakes and climbed back to P1 with a time of 1:09.515. That was slower than his supersoft-shod time of the morning but again quicker than the 2004 circuit record set by Rubens Barrichello.
Ricciardo got closest to the Mercedes but admitted that the Constructors champions look out of reach.
“For what we’ve got here we looked competitive. The long runs looked okay but the Mercs looked really strong,” he said. “We can definitely find a little bit more for tomorrow but I don’t think we’re far off and we don’t have to make many changes tonight. I’d like some rain for Qualifying tomorrow and I can try and fight for pole. I know if I get it I won’t start there because of my penalty, but anyway it would be good to start 11th for the race. That’s my target.”
Sebastian Vettel was the quickest Ferrari, just 0.132 behind Ricciardo, while Max Verstappen was fifth in the second Red Bull, just one hundredth of a second adrift of Vettel.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon was seventh ahead of hometown hero and Williams driver Felipe Massa. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Renault, while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completed the top 10.
There was trouble in the session for Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson skidded off in Turn 9, slapping into the barriers at the side of the track. After a difficult morning session in which neither of its cars has much running, Toro Rosso bounced back in the afternoon, Pierre Gasly completing 44 laps to finish in P16 and Brendon Hartley posting a total of 54 laps to finish in 17th place.
2017 Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 42 1:09.515
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 45 1:09.563 0.048
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 37 1:09.743 0.228
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 48 1:09.875 0.360
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 38 1:09.886 0.371
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 45 1:10.117 0.602
7 Esteban Ocon Force India 49 1:10.306 0.791
8 Felipe Massa Williams 42 1:10.373 0.858
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 39 1:10.396 0.881
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 31 1:10.655 1.140
11 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 42 1:10.685 1.170
12 Sergio Perez Force India 43 1:10.695 1.180
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 38 1:10.902 1.387
14 Lance Stroll Williams 44 1:11.064 1.549
15 Romain Grosjean Haas 39 1:11.300 1.785
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 44 1:11.422 1.907
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 54 1:11.821 2.306
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 43 1:11.857 2.342
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 17 1:11.989 2.474
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas 37 1:12.417 2.902