World championship leader Lewis Hamilton turned the screw to emphasise his superiority when he topped the times again ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in Friday’s second practice for this weekend’s decisive Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old Briton, who was quickest in the morning’s opening session, continued where he left off then with a best lap of one minute and 42.113 seconds, leaving him 0.083 seconds ahead of his German team-mate.
It was the 15th time in 19 races this year that Hamilton had been the fastest driver in second practice and gave him near-perfect preparation for Sunday’s 55-laps race at the Yas Marina circuit where he hopes to claim his second drivers’ world title.
Hamilton, who has a 17 points lead over Rosberg in the championship, will be crowned champion again if he can win or finish second, whatever his friend from their days as karting team-mates achieves in the race.
Rosberg has to do the same and hope for some misfortune to hit Hamilton and permit him to out-score him by at least 18 points.
Kevin Magnussen was third fastest for McLaren ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who on Sunday starts his 113th and final race with the Red Bull team before leaving for Ferrari next season as successor to Fernando Alono.
The Spaniard was out of luck on Friday when his car idled to a halt at the start of the second session with possible electrical problems. It meant he was unable to record a lap time.
Valtteri Bottas of Williams was fifth fastest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull, Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and Jenson Button, who was eighth in the second McLaren.
Red Bull-bound Daniil Kvyat was ninth fastest for Toro Rosso and Felipe Massa 10th in the second Williams, as the British team improved following a trouble-hit session earlier in the day.
The session began in bright sunlight, with the sun setting over the nearby city of Abu Dhabi, before the circuit floodlights came on, illuminating the track for the only ‘twilight’ event of the year. – Agence France-Presse