Chinese GP: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton recovers to lead practice two

Lewis Hamilton bounced back from a late start to top Friday's second free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix

Chinese GP: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton recovers to lead practice two

The Mercedes driver missed the first 25 minutes of the one-and-a-half hour session thanks to a suspension problem, which had also limited his running during free practice one.

But after a brief stint on the medium-compound Pirellis, during which he lapped a second-and-a-quarter off the pacesetters on equivalent rubber, Hamilton switched to softs at around the halfway mark.

Hamilton, who complained of understeer on his first run, blitzed the final sector of the lap, setting comfortably the quickest time of the afternoon in that part of the circuit to knock Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso off top spot by 0.141s.

Chinese Grand Prix gallery

Alonso had earlier relegated the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg from the top of the times by four tenths of a second, setting a particularly strong pace in the twisty middle sector of the lap.

After a dismal Bahrain GP weekend, it was a far stronger day for Alonso. He earlier topped the first free practice session and then set the fastest time during the medium-compound running at the start of the afternoon's running.

Rosberg had the potential to produce a better time and after setting the fastest time of all in sector one, yellow flags at the final corner cost him time, although it is not clear how much. He had to be content with third-fastest time.

Daniel Ricciardo beat Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel to fourth place, with Felipe Massa making good on the Williams team's hopes for a stronger weekend in China in sixth overall.

All the post-session reaction on AUTOSPORT Live

Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest after a brief off at the final corner, with McLaren's Jenson Button eighth ahead of Romain Grosjean and Daniil Kvyat.

Behind them, Force India failed to recapture its Bahrain form, with Nico Hulkenberg 11th fastest and almost a second-and-a-half off the pace, and Sergio Perez 15th.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado endured a fraught session, suffering off-track moments at the final and the first corner prior to crashing in the pit-entry shortly after the half-hour mark.

Both Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi and Marussia's Max Chilton spun during the session, with Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen among those to have off-track moments.

Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1m38.315s           25
 2.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari               1m38.456s  +0.141s  28
 3.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m38.726s  +0.411s  30
 4.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault      1m38.811s  +0.496s  30
 5.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m39.015s  +0.700s  31
 6.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes     1m39.118s  +0.803s  25
 7.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari               1m39.283s  +0.968s  25
 8.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m39.491s  +1.176s  29
 9.  Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault         1m39.537s  +1.222s  36
10.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault    1m39.648s  +1.333s  26
11.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m39.736s  +1.421s  30
12.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes      1m39.744s  +1.429s  29
13.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault    1m39.759s  +1.444s  28
14.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     1m39.830s  +1.515s  25
15.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes  1m40.124s  +1.809s  32
16.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari        1m40.359s  +2.044s  32
17.  Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari        1m40.395s  +2.080s  30
18.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault         1m40.455s  +2.140s  12
19.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari      1m42.327s  +4.012s  27
20.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari      1m43.473s  +5.158s  30
21.  Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault      1m43.530s  +5.215s  32
22.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault      1m43.679s  +5.364s  32
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