Ricciardo emphatically turned the tables on Mercedes, but what does that really mean? We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to put that into its true perspective, when we’ll see if the RB12 is still on top of the heap, but there’s no doubting that his best lap of 1m 14.607s, followed by a second of 1m 14.785s, was impressive. On the same ultrasoft Pirelli rubber, Hamilton’s best was 1m 15.213s, Rosberg’s 1m 15.506s. Reality? Fuel weights? Engine modes? We’ll see in FP3 and qualifying.
All in all, it was another good session for the energy drinks company, with Max Verstappen fourth - without the benefit of the revised Renault engine - on 1m15.571s, followed by the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat on 1m 15.815s and Carlos Sainz on 1m 15.901s.
Ferrari? They had a tough afternoon. Kimi Raikkonen ended up seventh on 1m 16.040s, having like several others familiarised himself with the Ste Devote escape road - step forward also Messrs Nasr, Rosberg, Verstappen and Button. Then Sebastian Vettel went the whole hog. Having already backed his SF16-H into the wall at Mirabeau after a half spin, the four-time champion got sideways on the exit to Ste Devote and clobbered the wall with his left rear. He was left in ninth place, on 1m 16.269s, separated from his team mate by Force India’s Sergio Perez on 1m 16.120s. Jenson Button rounded out the top 10 for McLaren, with 1m 16.325s.
Haas, Manor and Renault also found themselves in the wars, or rather in the wall. Haas had a one-two early on courtesy of Esteban Gutierrez (recovered from electronics problems in FP1) and Romain Grosjean, but then the Frenchman slapped the barriers under braking for the chicane, possibly because of a puncture.
Next, Manor’s Rio Haryanto did the same job a slightly different way, losing control earlier and kissing both walls as he spun to a halt down in the chicane run-off. Later, Kevin Magnussen nosed his Renault into the tyre wall at the final turn. None of them was hurt, but their cars were damaged. Only Grosjean got going again after lengthy repairs.