Lewis Hamilton turned the tables on Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg in a scrappy second practice session in Japan on Friday afternoon in which there were several crashes, two red flag periods, and light rain towards the end.
Hamilton topped the times with 1m 35.078s, 0.240s ahead of Rosberg on 1m 35.318s – while Mercedes’ imperious advantage was emphasised by the fact Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was their nearest challenger in third, more than one second down on Hamilton with 1m 36.279s.
McLaren’s Jenson’s Button was right behind the Finn on 1m 36.409s, fractions ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull on 1m 36.436s, the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso on 1m 36.529s and 1m 36.637s, Kevin Magnussen’s McLaren on 1m 36.714s and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso on 1m 36.943s.
Local favourite Kamui Kobayashi was the first driver to be caught out, losing the rear of his Caterham through the esses and spinning backwards into the barriers – causing damage to the rear suspension and front wing – on only his fourth lap. The Japanese driver was already playing catch-up having sat out FP1 for Roberto Merhi.