Valtteri Bottas had led the way for the Silver Arrows at lunchtime, but it was last year’s championship runner-up, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who ultimately grabbed P1 after a rapid mid-afternoon run on soft tyres.
The duo were also the day’s mileage leaders, with Vettel finishing just two laps shy of a century of laps, and Bottas only four laps off the German.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne used a set of Pirelli’s new hypersoft tyres to post the third quickest time of the day, shading Max Verstappen’s medium-shod Red Bull by just 0.001s.
Having been restricted to just three laps in the morning session because of a fuel leak, the Dutchman - who also spun early on - recovered well to log 67 laps - 30 more than Vandoorne who stopped early.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz was just two off Verstappen’s lap tally as he finished fifth, just ahead of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly who continued the Italian team’s productive start to testing.
Williams split driving duties between rookie Sergey Sirotkin and experienced reserve driver Robert Kubica, and it was the latter who ended with a marginally quicker time after a series of soft-tyre runs in the afternoon.
Esteban Ocon’s first day in the Force India yielded 79 laps and the ninth quickest time, the Frenchman one of several drivers to carry an extensive array of sensors in the early running.
The timesheet was completed by two drivers who found the gravel on day two – Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen.
The former was responsible for a red flag when he beached his car at Turn 4, having already survived an earlier trip through the gravel. Magnussen, meanwhile, flirted with the barriers in the morning session before returning to the pits for a lengthy stay in the garage.
The bad news for the teams, who are struggling to learn much about performance in the chilly temperatures, is that the unseasonal cold snap and inclement weather are set to hold on Wednesday…