Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap of the second practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prixc, edging Charles Leclerc by just two hundredths of a second as Ferrari annexed top two spots at Interlagos.
Vettel moved to the top of the timesheet early in the session, when the running was being made on medium compound Pirelli tyres. The German posted a time of 1:09.570 to lead ahead of Leclerc.
However, when the field began to move to qualifying simulations on soft compound tyres, Vettel initially struggled to get the best from his tyres as he was hampered by traffic. That allowed Leclerc to take top spot with a lap of 1:09.238 but Vettel was soon back on track and with a better run improved to a lap of 1:09.217 that would remain the benchmark until the end of the session.
Third place in the session went to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, with the Dutch driver’s late qualifying simulation putting just over a tenth of a second behind Leclerc.
On the short 4.309km track the gaps were small and Verstappen edged Valtteri Bottas by just over two hundredths of a second, with the Finn’s Mercedes team-mate in fifth a further seven hundredths of a second behind. In the end the top five were covered by just 0.223s
There was then a substantial gap of seven tenths of a second back to sixth-placed Kevin Magnussen of Haas, though the Dane put in an excellent performance to beat Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo by 0.051s.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen was the last man within a second of Vettel’s benchmark, with the Finn taking eighth place 0.993s off the pace.
After crashing out late in the morning session Alex Albon failed to find a comfort zone in his Red Bull RB15 in the afternoon and though he put 31 laps on the board he finished in ninth place 1.058s off Vettel. Tenth place in the session went to McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.
There was trouble in the session for Toro Rosso. Pierre Gasly’s session ended with 20 minutes remaining when he pulled over at the side of the track with smoke emerging from the rear of the car.
Team-mate Daniil Kvyat then brought the session to a premature finish with five minutes remaining when he slid off into the barriers at Turn 12, Junçao.
Robert Kubica also also crashed out in the session, with the Pole going off in Turn 3 on his first flying lap early on.
2019 FIA Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix – Free Practice 2
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 30 1:09.217
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 35 1:09.238 0.021
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 33 1:09.351 0.134
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 37 1:09.373 0.156
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 39 1:09.440 0.223
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas 38 1:10.143 0.926
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 32 1:10.194 0.977
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 39 1:10.210 0.993
9 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing 31 1:10.275 1.058
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren 38 1:10.310 1.093
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 31 1:10.325 1.108
12 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso 26 1:10.352 1.135
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 36 1:10.419 1.202
14 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso 34 1:10.424 1.207
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point 31 1:10.443 1.226
16 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:10.504 1.287
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point 33 1:10.568 1.351
18 Lando Norris McLaren 41 1:10.700 1.483
19 George Russell Williams 36 1:11.818 2.601
20 Robert Kubica Williams 2