Second test, second day – Red Bull and Ferrari on top

“It was definitely better than yesterday,” Ricciardo told reporters at the track as the day’s running ended.

“We’ve been trying to get a day with 100 laps and it was good we did that today.

“It’s just testing, but it’s encouraging seeing us on the top, or at least in that front group.”

World champion Lewis Hamilton reclaimed the Mercedes from Nico Rosberg for the afternoon – having recovered sufficiently from the fever that sidelined him on Thursday – while Rosberg needed to rest his back as a precaution following a trapped nerve earlier in the week.

Hamilton and Ricciardo both embarked on race simulations, with the Briton’s top time of 1m24.923s – set on medium tyres – putting him fifth overall.

Both simulations were interrupted by a red flag for Carlos Sainz Jr putting the Toro Rosso in the gravel at the fast Turn 9 right-hander at the back of the circuit.

That was one of two afternoon red flags, with Marcus Ericsson causing the other when he stopped on the pits straight in the final half-hour.

Felipe Massa made progress up the timesheet to put Williams third, vaulting forward with two short runs on soft tyres after a competitive longer run on mediums.