Sebastian Vettel went fastest in the second practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix, the Red Bull driver leaving little doubt over his status as favourite for victory in Shanghai.
Vettel, who was also quickest in the morning, posted a best time of 1m37.688s, but this time he was followed closely by the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who were less than three tenths behind the world champion.
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher showed promising form in the Mercedes, the Germans winding up fourth and fifth - less than half a second off the pace.
Felipe Massa was again the fastest Ferrari driver with the sixth quickest time.
Team-mate Fernando Alonso finished in 14th position having been unable to do much running due to a hydraulic problem in his Ferrari. The Spaniard managed to return to action late in the session, completing a run with soft tyres but without using his DRS.
Hamilton and Button showed they had pace in store after their discreet showing in FP1, both going quicker right at the start of the second session. They exchanged positions a few times before Button moved to the top with a 1m39.431s just 10 minutes into the session.
Ten minutes later it was Rosberg moving to the top of the times, becoming the second man alongside Vettel to lap in the 1m38s. Williams's Pastor Maldonado was also among the frontrunners at the start of the session after deciding to use the softer tyre compound, the Venezuelan the first man to do so.
Massa went quickest around the 30-minute mark also using soft tyres, the Brazilian posting the best time of the weekend until that moment - 1m38.570s.
Rosberg regained the top spot minutes later with his maiden run with the soft tyres, the Mercedes driver the first man to move into the 1m37s.
Team-mate Schumacher jumped to second place - also with a run on softs - when nearing the one-hour mark, the seven-time champion less than two tenths behind Rosberg.
A couple of minutes later, Hamilton retook first place, with Button going second as the McLaren duo tried the soft tyres for the first time. The former reported after his flying lap that his tyres were "finished".
McLaren's domination did not last long however, with Vettel flying to the top spot with a 1m37.688s just a moment later.
Nick Heidfeld had another difficult session following his crash in the morning, the German making contact with the barrier again after going off at Turn 12.
He managed to keep the engine going and returned to the track with no front wing, but was forced to stop before reaching the pits. He was later pushed back into the pits by his mechanics and the German returned to action for the last 25 minutes.
Force India's Paul di Resta also had a difficult afternoon, the Briton's car affected by a fuel-pressure problem that meant he was unable to complete any running.
HRT's Tonio Liuzzi completed just one timed lap after succumbing to a car problem in the first session. He managed to join the track at the very end, but still outpaced the Virgin cars.
Virgin driver Timo Glock was hit by problems again, and although he managed more running than in the morning, the German still lost valuable time in the pits and finished his session early.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.688s 34
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.854s + 0.166 22
3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.935s + 0.247 31
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.943s + 0.255 34
5. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.105s + 0.417 29
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.507s + 0.819 36
7. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m38.735s + 1.047 35
8. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m38.805s + 1.117 26
9. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m38.859s + 1.171 31
10. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m39.327s + 1.639 33
11. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.538s + 1.850 33
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m39.667s + 1.979 37
13. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.771s + 2.083 18
14. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m39.779s + 2.091 17
15. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.828s + 2.140 25
16. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m39.925s + 2.237 32
17. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.953s + 2.265 30
18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m40.476s + 2.788 30
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m41.482s + 3.794 32
20. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m42.902s + 5.214 25
21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m43.850s + 6.162 3
22. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m44.008s + 6.320 35
23. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m44.747s + 7.059 12
All Timing Unofficial