The second and final free practice session for the opening day of the Japanese Grand Prix saw Nico Rosberg back on top once again, the Mercedes driver only a fraction of a second quicker than his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, both drying running on the soft Pirelli rubber.
In front of sparse grandstands once again, the 22 drivers went out to finish off their Friday running with the main casualty being the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez who was forced to finish his session early due to a turbo issue. Several drivers, including Malaysian Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo suffered as a result with their fast laps ruined by the Virtual Safety Car.
Kimi Raikkonen was the best of the rest in this session, three tenths behind Rosberg with Max Verstappen fourth fastest overall and Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top five.
Banners adorned the circuit with tributes to Jules Bianchi, who suffered his terrible crash here in the wet race two years ago.
Times from FP2
1. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:32.250
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, + 0.072
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, + 0.323
4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, + 0.811
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 0.853
6. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 1.320
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 1.623
8. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1.735
9. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, + 1.778
10. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, + 1.836
11. Felipe Massa, Williams, + 1.877
12. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 1.900
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1.991
14. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, + 2.055
15. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, + 2.089
16. Jenson Button, McLaren, + 2.148
17. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, + 2.393
18. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, + 2.510
19. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, + 2.574
20. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, + 3.042
21. Esteban Ocon, Manor, + 3.150
22. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 4.068