Nico Rosberg set the fastest lap of second practice for the Spanish Grand, finishing 0.25s ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
In the morning session Ferrari had set the pace as the only team to use the soft tyres, but when Rosberg bolted on the yellow-banded Pirelli tyres in the afternoon session the Mercedes driver was able to eclipse the Italian squad. The margin though was slight, with Rosberg’s best FP2 time being 1:23.922, just under three thousandths of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s timesheet topper from FP1.
Rosberg’s margin to his rivals in FP2 was greater, however, with the German ended the session 0.254s clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Lewis Hamilton was third, seven tenths of a second behind team-mate Rosberg with a time of 1:24.641, while Vettel was fourth, a full second adrift of the championship leader.
However, neither Raikkonen nor Vettel had a trouble-free session, with Vettel setting a scruffy lap on the soft tyre and Raikkonen encountering a fuel system issue that saw him called back to the pits.
Fifth in the session was Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, the Spaniard reacting well to the changes at the Italian squad and to the reception afforded him by his home crowd. Sainz was 1.2s off Rosberg’s best time but 0.061s ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo.
In the morning session Max Verstappen finished 0.169s behind his new Red Bull Racing team-mate but in the afternoon the gap was only marginally wider, at 0.181s though the pair were split in FP2 by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
Ninth place went to Force India’s Sergio Perez, with team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in P10.
Running was halted for ten minutes early on in the session, after Jolyon Palmer suffered a puncture. The Renault driver was powering down the pit straight at high speed when his rear-left tyre suddenly deflated. The rookie did well to control his car and slowed it to a stop in the run-off area. He was able to rejoin later on but finished in P17 behind Williams’ Felipe Massa and 15th-placed Daniil Kvyat, who struggled to get to grips with his new Toro Rosso car.
2016 Spanish Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.922 35
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.176 31
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.641 27
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:25.017 35
5 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.131 39
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:25.194 37
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:25.342 31
8 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:25.375 31
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.437 32
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:25.453 35
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.708 30
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.893 20
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:25.899 33
14 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:26.244 40
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:26.375 44
16 Felipe Massa Williams 1:26.491 36
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:26.770 16
18 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:26.960 40
19 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:27.252 39
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:27.812 40
21 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:28.205 9
22 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:28.501 42