Nico Rosberg tops the time sheet as Lewis Hamilton ends FP2 early
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News September 15, 2016 Updated: 6:23 PM
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finished on top at the end of the second practice session ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton's session ending with a hydraulics issue.
“It’s really close between ourselves, Red Bull and Ferrari – much closer than at some other tracks for sure – so it looks like a big battle ahead. I’m looking forward to it,” said Rosberg.
Rosberg finished with a time of 1:44.152. 0.3s ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton's session was cut short after aborting his first qualifying run and then struggling through a hand full of laps on the ultra-soft tires (purple stripe). Mercedes later confirmed ”a hydraulic alert while on the circuit". The team could not fix the issue, and Hamilton was unable to finish the session, leaving him seventh and with only 20 laps completed.
“We had a small hydraulic issue at the end of FP2 but it doesn’t look like anything serious. The guys are working on it and it should be fine for tomorrow, which is the main thing. Our pace looked okay today,” said Hamilton.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended his day third, with teammate Daniel Ricciardo finishing fourth as the team is a strong favorite at this weekend’s race. Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel finished fifth, just 0.7s off Raikkonen. Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth for Force India.
Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz finished eighth as the team may have a chance at a good result in 2016. McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso finished ninth, with McLaren expected to qualify in the top 10.
At the end of the session, Alonso reported what he believed to be "a gearbox issue,” which might spell trouble for him if the issue results in a gearbox change. Meanwhile, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat finished FP2 in the tenth and final spot, hoping to end his points drought this weekend.
It wasn’t just Hamilton and Alonso who ran into some issues. Force India’s Sergio Perez also complained of car trouble and ended the day in 11th ahead of Jenson Button, who finished 12th for McLaren-Honda and Esteban Gutierrez in 13th for Haas F1.
“It was not the easiest day in the car. There are a few issues that we still need to solve and it means that I’m lacking confidence with the car – and that’s not ideal for a street circuit. We need to make some good decisions tonight to find a direction that works for me,” said Perez.
The Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas took 14th and 15th ahead of Saturday’s qualifying, with Renault’s Kevin Magnussen and teammate Joylon Palmer finishing 16th and 17th, ahead of the Sauber of Felipe Nasr who finished 18th.
Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean ended his day in 19th after he tapped the wall on the last corner and lost his rear wing. Marcus Ericsson took 20th for Sauber, while the Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon finished the evening 21st and 22nd.