Lewis Hamilton topped his second practice session in a row at the Bahrain Grand Prix as Mercedes extended its advantage over the rest of the field at the top of the timesheets.
Hamilton's best time was a 1:34.325, 0.365s clear of Nico Rosberg and a massive 1.035s clear of Fernando Alonso in third. It was the first session of the weekend to be held under floodlights and started at the same time as qualifying and the race, giving the teams their one practice opportunity to see how the tyres behave in the cooler night conditions.
As a result a lot of drivers went out on soft tyres earlier than they normally would, with the two Mercedes laying down the benchmark pace. Daniel Ricciardo was the highest-placed Renault-powered car in fourth position ahead of Felipe Massa, who had a problem that kept in the garage early in the session, but returned to the track in the final half hour to clock a 1:35.442. The teams settled into race simulation for the closing half hour of the session and while Mercedes was a long way out in front, Red Bull and Ferrari were both very close over longer runs, while Williams left it too late to get out and record a significant tally of laps.
Jenson Button was sixth fastest ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who remained adrift of the front-running pace and was only a tenth quicker than Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso. Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten, with Valtteri Bottas 11th and Nico Hulkenberg dropping off the pace slightly in 13th. Kimi Raikkonen could only manage the 14th fastest time as his set-up problems from the first two races appear to be persisting.
Adrian Sutil's session was cut short by a technical problem, as was Marcus Ericsson, who also struggled with car problems in FP1. Jean-Eric Vergne spun during the session at Turn 8 and Max Chilton appeared to have some sort of failure when his Marussia pitched him into a spin at Turn 4.