Kimi Raikkonen narrowly beat Lewis Hamilton to the top spot in FP2 ahead of Sunday's Singapore GP.
The first time of FP2 was posted by Romain Grosjean in the Haas on a 1:44.748 using the soft compound. Moments later, Valtteri Bottas smashed that by clocking a 1:41.694 on the ultrasofts as he was the first of the drivers from the big teams to set a time. Vettel, Verstappen and Hamilton all took turns at the top – but Raikkonen stood at the head of the times following the first attempts in the session.
Raikkonen led from Verstappen, Ricciardo, Vettel and Hamilton. Only 0.123 covered the Ferraris and the Red Bulls. Bottas, Perez, Alonso, Ocon and Hulkenberg completed the top 10 before the qualifying simulations began.
During the opening runs, Hamilton locked up his front tyres on a cool-down lap and almost went into the back of his title rival Sebastian Vettel before he went down the runoff at T14.
Valtteri Bottas was the first driver to do a qualifying sim and the Finn smashed Raikkonen’s time by over a second. He logged a 1:39.368 in his W09. Carlos Sainz did a good lap to briefly go 2nd before the rest of the big guns came out.
Hamilton obliterated his stablemates time by over 0.6s to go quickest. However, Kimi Raikkonen beat that moments later by just 0.011s to be on top in FP2 as the close battle between Ferrari and Mercedes continued.
It wasn’t perfect for Ferrari, however. Sebastian Vettel hit the wall with his right rear tyre on the exit of turn 21 during his flier and boxed immediately. There was fluid on the ground from Vettel’s car in the Ferrari box after he was wheeled back into the garage and his session was cut short. It meant the German missed the vital race simulations.
Lance Stroll’s FP2 ended early as well. The Canadian’s rear brakes got way too hot and he was forced to pit after completing over 17 laps in the session.
Behind Raikkonen and Hamilton, Verstappen was P3 in front of team-mate Ricciardo and Bottas. Sainz, Grosjean, Alonso, Vettel and Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10.
Perez, Ericsson, Ocon, Leclerc, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Hartley, Gasly, Stroll and Siroktin filled spots 11-20 in the most important practice session of the weekend at this circuit.
Sauber Marcus Ericsson’s had a spin late on as he lost the car on the exit of turn 5. Luckily, the McLaren of Fernando Alonso just managed to avoid him despite running very close to the Swede before he dropped it.