Ferrari lead Mercedes in second practice

2016 Chinese Grand Prix second practice

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Ferrari served notice of their potential in the second practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix by out-pacing both Mercedes drivers.

Kimi Raikkonen led the way, being the only driver to lap the Shanghai International Circuit in less than 97 seconds. Raikkonen gave his super-soft tyres a more vigorous preparation before beginning his flying lap and posted the fastest times in the first two sectors before they began to lose their grip.

That put him one-tenth of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who had given his tyres a more gentle treatment and posted a faster final sector time, despite running wide at the turn 14 hairpin.

At the end of the session Vettel attacked the pit lane entrance hard, locking up heavily in his attempt to make the left-hander, wrecking his front-left tyre in the process.

Ferrari relegated the two Mercedes drivers to third and fourth place, Nico Rosberg two-tenths of a second faster than Hamilton. The world champion, who spun twice in the morning session, locked up and headed off the track at turn 14 while doing his race simulation run at the end of the session.

Daniel Ricciardo was ‘best of the rest’ in fifth place with a slender gap to Max Verstappen. Both Toro Rossos appeared in the top ten but Daniil Kvyat’s lap was compromised which left him down in 13th.

Both Force Indias also reached the top ten but the fastest Williams was only tenth – Valtteri Bottas ending the session 1.8s off the pace of Mercedes.

There was no repeat of the tyre failures seen in the morning session for Felipe Massa or any of the other drivers. However Kevin Magnussen did not take part in proceedings as Renault continued to investigate the cause of his failure.

Esteban Gutierrez managed just four laps before a fire on both his rear brakes sent him into the pits.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
17Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’36.89635
25Sebastian VettelFerrari1’37.0050.10933
36Nico RosbergMercedes1’37.1330.23733
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.3290.43333
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’38.1431.24731
633Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Ferrari1’38.2681.37228
727Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’38.5271.63131
855Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Ferrari1’38.5421.64632
911Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’38.5691.67331
1077Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’38.7231.82734
1114Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’38.7281.83231
1222Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’38.8281.93228
1326Daniil KvyatRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’39.1782.28231
1419Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’39.2142.31834
1530Jolyon PalmerRenault1’39.7742.87832
168Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’39.8902.99422
1794Pascal WehrleinManor-Mercedes1’39.9413.04536
189Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’39.9793.08335
1988Rio HaryantoManor-Mercedes1’40.5503.65433
2012Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’41.0664.17032
2121Esteban GutierrezHaas-Ferrari1’42.9546.0584

Second practice visual gaps

Kimi Raikkonen – 1’36.896

+0.109 Sebastian Vettel – 1’37.005

+0.237 Nico Rosberg – 1’37.133

+0.433 Lewis Hamilton – 1’37.329

+1.247 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’38.143

+1.372 Max Verstappen – 1’38.268

+1.631 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’38.527

+1.646 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’38.542

+1.673 Sergio Perez – 1’38.569

+1.827 Valtteri Bottas – 1’38.723

+1.832 Fernando Alonso – 1’38.728

+1.932 Jenson Button – 1’38.828

+2.282 Daniil Kvyat – 1’39.178

+2.318 Felipe Massa – 1’39.214

+2.878 Jolyon Palmer – 1’39.774

+2.994 Romain Grosjean – 1’39.890

+3.045 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’39.941

+3.083 Marcus Ericsson – 1’39.979

+3.654 Rio Haryanto – 1’40.550

+4.170 Felipe Nasr – 1’41.066

+6.058 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’42.954

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Ferrari lead Mercedes in second practice”

  1. Should make for an interesting race weekend. All the teams seem to be struggling with race balance, set up, tyre degradation and a few unexpected problems. I think FP3 will give a more accurate display of the pecking order.

    If it rains during Quali, we could be up for some really unpredictable results on Sunday. So really excited about the race this weekend.

    Also, looking at the lap times, it really looks like Mercedes and Ferrari have moved away from the pack. And I have to hand it to Mclaren, they are consistently 2 secs a lap slower than Mercs, which is a massive improvement from their consistent 2.5s off Mercs pace around this last year .

    1. Cautious on the McLaren times as it has been reported they run one engine mode all weekend which is their best but Ferrari and Merc teams turn up their engines throughout the weekend. On Friday last race they were best of the rest on Friday but fell away through the weekend.

      1. Agree. That’s what Boullier said at the end of the practice session.

        But what the Honda chief said a few days ago, is that engine development is a balancing act between performance and reliability. They finally found a balance that gives them optimum reliability, but if they are to turn up the power their reliability will get affected.

        Ferrari and Mercs have found their balance point as well, and the performance seems to be considerably higher than what Honda are capable of. Ferrari and Mercs can still turn up the power further without the car breaking down every 3 laps, which is something Honda cannot do.

        I can understand why the Mclaren drivers wouldn’t mind missing a race. They have improved reliability of the engine, but it still is a GP2 engine.

        1. Honda has improved in that they are better on the straighst and far more reliable, they now have something to build on. Next year there are no tokens so any fundamental design errors can be overcome, in fact they can learn from all their many errors and build a brand new engine for next year, Renault to. Of course Merc and Ferrari can also do this but surely they have less to gain over their current designs. Unlimited tokens may well bring about a huge convergence in engines as everyone has learnt from each other, designers swap teams, information gets leaked etc.

          As long as the Honda is reliable this year we can see a proper fight between their drivers just at a lower speed than they want.

          1. Wait, we are only two races in to the season, Button already had a engine problem and DNFed? I wouldn’t call Honda reliable just yet.

          2. Quite right De. I should have said more reliable than last year and more reliable than Ferrari thus far.

      2. @todfod Markp I was ridiculed by you and @jureo when I claimed Mercedes had taken a step back on chassis for 2016. I tried to explain why I thought Shanghai would be better for the better chassis than bahrain. It’s only Friday but the Ferrari looks definitely stronger on high speed aero corners. Disappointed to see ricciardo struggle with so much understeer. I have to admit that I also said Ricciardo for pole in Shanghai and that’s not going to happen.

        1. @peartree let me first appologise. I did not mean to redicule you.

          Ferrari chassis made amazing progress from last year. But is it really better than Mercedes.

          You claim Mercedes chassis is second to anyone… That is a brave statement, and I would love to see data to back that up.

          Mercedes is the benchmark, on power and on chassis. Only thing they fail on is following another car..

          Now is Ferrari better? Tommorow we will se wet running (might be totally different results to last year chassis) and on sunday we will see who is best. Maybe you are right… And who knows in wet quali, maybe Riciardo can come in to play.

          1. @jureo I don’t know if it is better, I believe so. What I’m trying to say is that the MErc PU is not only the most powerful, it’s probably also the most compact and is what I believe is enabling Mercedes to beat Ferrari and in particular RedBull taking in consideration the results of 2010-2013, I don’t think chassis construction and aero designing is what gave Merc their dominance, the culprit has to be the 2014-20(…) PU regulation. A car is a package, so I understand what you are saying but it’s hard to isolate the relevance of a great PU as it’s influence goes beyond power. In my view it’s the PU that allowed Merc to have a great car, with that in mind I don’t think it’s ludicrous to believe that this season is not going to be worse than the past 2.

  2. Super Soft does not appear to last 1 lap, Raikkonnen seemed to go for it at the start of the lap then lose out in S3 where Vettel seemed more cautious at the start and faster at the end of the lap, luckily if it rains in quali no one will use the super soft in the race.

    1. I reckon it would be epic if they were starting the race on the supersoft @markp. Not that it seems likely as you say, but if they do it would be a racefest.

      1. It maybe like 2013 where the front runners have to pit early but with faster cars and newer tyres they come flying past the cars starting on the softs or mediums, that would be great. Starting on supersofts and looking at the last load of races 3 stops seems to be the way to go. Interesting on Ferraris long runs the soft degraded no more than the medium but is faster, looks to me like medium is to slow and supersoft is too fragile, a bit like 2011 when no one really wanted to use the medium for this reason but had to.

        1. Seb’s long run on Mediums didn’t look to shabby. Average lap time: 1:43.5 over 12 laps
          But I agree, softs look very good for the race. Possible tyre strategyfor the race: SS-S-S-SS.

    2. I disagree. The used super softs held on better than expected on the long runs, about 2 sec drop-off from fastest to slowest lap on a 10-lap-run.

      Strategy is going to be very important on Sunday. 2-stop or 3-stop is possible.
      Impossible to say which is the best race tyre. Pace on Mediums and Softs seems to be very close (Vettel and Räikkönen did similar lap times on their long runs).
      Super soft should be good at the beginning and towards the end of the race.

      1. If that’s the case that supersoft is quite handy in race stint conditions I cannot see anyone using the mediums.

  3. Ricciardo has to be driver of the season this year. Consistently best of the rest in almost every session. Practice, qualifying and race. Usually by a long shot.

    1. Well, after 2 races and with the 3rd best car, that’s some idea.

    2. He’s quickly becoming stuck with the “best of the rest” nickname.

    3. @mickharrold In the old days we called 2nd position as “first of the losers”, now we call 5th position as “best of the rest”…

    4. [[[Consistently best of the rest ]]] very consistently.. alraedy two races ;)
      The season is 19 races to go..

      1. But so far consistently

  4. What’s up with Felipe Nasr? He has been off the pace all season long. Marcus Ericsson is regular .5 to a full second faster. Now, there’s an even bigger gap!

    1. Yeah I watched him in F3 and he was very good and I though he would make a very solid F1 driver, 1st race last year it looked very good then a few sporadic performances then this. Either he is not that good or Ericsson is better than everyone thought, it can happen look at Grosjean.

    2. According to brazilian media, his car “fells completely loose while braking, making him loose a lot of time.” The same journalists says that Marcus car was the car Sauber used during pre-season, wich Nasr liked the handling, so, apparently, the other chassis is the problem. Yesterday, it was said that, if the problems persisted during the Chinese Grand Prix, Sauber would give Nasr a new chassis, as apparently their telemetry has proven Nasr right. Also, there are some rumors that say that, as Sauber faces a very complicated financial situation, while Marcus car is 2016-spec, Nasr still has some parts that are 2015-spec is his car.

      1. Whatever the case may be it’s irrelevant as Sauber will fold long before the summer break (unless Bernie steps in). Can’t expect Ericsson’s sponsors to advance money to cover the running costs of the team on a monthly basis.

  5. Guitierrez is suffering with brakes a little this season… Front brake issue at Bahrain and now rear brakes on fire… Grosjean doesn’t appear to have issues, so does he have a heavy foot?

    1. Yes, the wrong foot!

    2. That’s what i thought to.
      The difference between GJ and GT is very big. Or Haas only has on set of trustworthy brakes?

  6. Poor Guti! The man cannot catch a break this season!

  7. Rolley Bidoney
    15th April 2016, 12:23

    please anybody can tell me where I can know tyers used by each driver in free practice

  8. Both Ferrari drivers have said they have not got a good balance, Raikkonnen said they are only good on the super soft tyre. Turns out this is a trend among most drivers as even Hamilton has said they have to work on the balance as it is not good, so all in not bad.

    1. That was funny. Kimi complaining about the run being terrible and then looking at the numbers and the on track behavior of other cars, people at Ferrari must have told him: “well, your balance may be terrible but others are even worse” with Lewis going off etc. etc.

      1. Aha! Proof at last – Lewis Hamilton *is* unbalanced. :D

  9. As there seems to be scope for it, I would like to see HAM exploit the extra set of mediums he has available. Ferrari’s signs of life bode well for the race.

    1. Looking at the history of races here it seems to be a track that it is better to attack on using a 3 stop strategy. You do give track position to 2 stoppers but the new tyre advantage and long DRS assisted straights leave the 2 stoppers powerless to defend. Rain in quali would mean s-s-s-ss, the medium appears to offer no more life than the soft but it is slower.

  10. When the wick is turned up in qualifying Rosberg has pole in the bag. And provided he gets away cleanly I expect a 2012 style cruise to victory for him. With the Ferrari pace and difficulty passing similar performance cars Hamilton is on track for a 4th place finish which leaves him 30 points behind Rosberg. Has he ever been that far behind Rosberg at any point before?

    I knew that 50/1 bet I had which required Hamilton to win the championship was too good to be true, Rosberg has it this year.

    1. He was quite far in front in 2014 but I do not know the biggest points gap he had. Vettel has won titles from 50 points back at some stages of the season, there are as many races left as the whole of last season and Hamilton won that by around 30 points so all to play for.

      1. I think the biggest gap was 29 points so not quite as big as it *could* be here – though nothing has happened yet so the guesswork is a bit story land stuff.

        On the flipside. 29 points was after the Belgian GP much closer to the end of the season and we have TONS of races left this year. Also Lewis has been quick already this year, only the starts have been letting him down. I think it’s a little early to be handing the champagne out!

    2. I know I will be debunked and labelled a crazy conspiracy theorist, but go write this in stone….

      The ‘powers that be’ at MB desperately want Rosberg to win the WDC this year, and the ‘effort’ was initiated right after the Austin 2015 championship clincher. We must not be ignorant to the fact that winning a race depends much more on just the driver in the car.

      Like I said, go write this in stone.

      Disclaimer: No, I am not crazy. Yes, I am a Hamilton supporter.

      1. Only a crazy person would say that ;) lol

      2. You never know but personally I think that is complete rubbish that a self confessed Hamilton fan makes up as they cannot accept Hamilton can be beaten without a consipiracy. I believe Hamilton to be slightly better than Rosberg so for a team to spend hundreds of millions a year to not maximise their advantage by holding back on of their drivers maybe their best driver is crazy, why would Merc scuttle their ultimate result potential to hand a title to Rosberg? Why would they owe him that? If it’s because Merc is German like Rosberg it would be cheaper and more beneficial to buy Vettel out of Ferrari to get a German world champion or even pay Hamilton to become a German citizen.

      3. I think Mercedes are happy one way or the other. If Hamilton keeps coming out on top they get to say ‘hey we let them fight, but we just happen to have the best current racer (subjective) and he manages to keep bringing it home despite fierce competition”. Or if Rosberg does win they get to say “hey, we have two world champions and arguably the best driver pairing on the grid”.

        I don’t think they have a preference one way or the other. Initially getting Hamilton the championship they promised him perhaps, but now I honestly believe they are just letting them race fair and square. Hamilton has lost a little bit of fire getting his goal of 3 WDC titles and Rosberg, still chasing his first, in the final year of his current contract and riding the high of a good streak of form is I believe managing to genuinely hold his own against Hamilton.

    3. You do know there are 21 races in a season???? – perhaps if it was over 5 I may just have given you the benefit of the doubt that he is favorite……

      Sooner or later over the season the luck will even out. Rosberg will have his share of bad luck and will he come away with a second and a third when he does??? Rosberg just can’t match Ham when Ham has a “clean” weekend – over the coarse of a 21 race season Rosberg will need a hell of a lot of luck to come out on top….

      And by the way, anything could happen this weekend, Rosberg could even end up starting behind Hamilton on the grid if we have a wet quali…. Rosberg could retire and Ham could leave China leading the WDC…. life is strange, just when when you think you know exactly whats going to happen, it throws a curve ball.

  11. I can almost feel the frustration of Esteban, just when he thinks all the problems are behind it pops up on him again, so unlucky !

  12. The start of this race will be stunning…I’m dreaming of a Rosberg slip up on the start and the Red mucking it up….hopefully getting Ham and Nico closer together so we can get this rivalry going..

    1. Wow what a sad comment. It’s not like we haven’t seen THAT bore-fest for two seasons. What, were you sleeping or just not very perceptive?

  13. The Ferrari results are very good, otherwise the Sauber’s ones…

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