Sebastian Vettel headed Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari one-two as Mercedes finished behind both their big rivals in Brazilian GP second practice.
Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were fourth and fifth respectively, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third.
After heavy morning rain in Sao Paulo had rendered Practice One almost meaningless, the arrival of dry conditions for the later session gave a first look at the possible pecking order for F1 2019’s penultimate weekend.
And it is Ferrari who appear to have the early upper hand – at least a single lap again – around the fast and undulating Interlagos track, with Vettel’s best lap of 1:09.217 proving 0.134s quicker than the third-placed Verstappen.
When’s the Brazilian GP on Sky?
It’s iconic, fast, and often chaotic – and the Brazilian GP is live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend as the 2019 season speeds toward its finish.
Mercedes with work to do?World champions Mercedes were still close behind, within 0.2s of Ferrari, with neither their drivers completing clean qualifying simulations.
Hamilton’s soft-tyre run was compromised by first a near-miss with Bottas – who he had to swerve around to avoid a crash before Turn 12 – and then by having to run off the track to avoid a slow Toro Rosso at Turn One on a later lap.
“Valtteri was just sitting there!” said Hamilton about the Bottas incident over team radio, with the Briton waving his hand in the cockpit in apparent annoyance at his team-mate.
Bottas also hindered one of Vettel’s laps, although the German was able to set the pace on a later attempt and edge out Leclerc by 0.021s.
Kubica and Toro Rosso in the warsMeanwhile, Robert Kubica’s session ended early when he crashed exiting the Senna Esses and damaged the front of his Williams car. The Pole’s car snapped right after he touched a still-wet kerb and sent him on a collision course with the barriers.
Toro Rosso, meanwhile, worrying saw both their cars drop out on the later long runs with smoke emanating from the rear of the STR14s on both occasions. Pierre Gasly pulled off the track with an engine problem, before Daniil Kvyat slithered towards the barriers at Juncao when his power unit appeared to cut out.
In a particularly tight midfield around one of F1’s shortest laps, the gap between Haas’ impressive Kevin Magnussen in sixth and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in 15th was just three tenths of a second.