After the scorching sunshine of the day’s opening session, Friday evening’s floodlit second practice in Bahrain was far more representative of the conditions teams will face in Sunday’s race.

After their deliberately low-key showing in FP1, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton finished a clear one-two, just a tenth of a second apart. However, the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were only half a second off the Silver Arrows’ pace and the signs are that they could be close enough in qualifying and the race to pose a significant challenge.

Hamilton lost no time in setting the best lap on the medium-compound Pirelli tyres of 1m 36.795s, but Vettel was only 0.100s slower. But on the soft rubber it was Rosberg who set the pace from Hamilton, with 1m 34.647s to 1m 34.762s. Hamilton, however, had made a small mistake locking his right front tyre under heavy braking for Turn 8, and appeared to lose more than the 0.115s that separated them.

FP1 pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen was Ferrari’s fastest runner in third with 1m 35.174s to Vettel’s 1m 35.277s. Right at the end the German was involved in a small incident with Force India’s Sergio Perez which briefly brought out the red flag as debris was removed from the circuit.

Coming down to Turn 1, Perez dived inside Felipe Nasr’s Sauber, which was running to the left; Vettel, having exited the pits, was on the inside, and Perez, in the middle, caught the Ferrari’s left front wing endplate as he turned in. Vettel immediately reported over the radio that he had lost braking, and after an investgation the stewards determined that neither the Ferrari driver nor Perez was to blame.

The stewards are also investigating Hamilton and Raikkonen for leaving the pit lane incorrectly when the session resumed.

Altogether this was a more cohesive session than the first, with fewer surprises, and began with a track temperature of 36 degrees Celsius which slowly declined to 32.

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