Normal service was resumed as feuding Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton finished one-two come the culmination of practice on Friday for the Italian Grand Prix.
After McLaren’s Jenson Button had surprisingly split the pair in the opening 90-minute session around Monza – with Hamilton comfortably quickest – come the second run, Rosberg held sway over his team-mate.
For over an hour, though, it appeared to be a case of ’it never rains but it pours’ for Hamilton as he frustratingly looked on at his mechanics tending to his car plagued by an electrical issue.
Hamilton has endured two mechanical retirements this year, a third in the wake of being hit by Rosberg last time out in Belgium, as well as a brake failure in qualifying in Germany and a fire in qualifying in Hungary.
In this instance his troubles may only have been in second practice, affording him plenty of opportunity to recover, but nevertheless he must have been wondering ’why always me?’
Hamilton will now naturally be hoping his misfortune is out of the way this weekend and he will run trouble -free through to the chequered flag on Sunday.
Hamilton managed to complete 16 laps compared to Rosberg’s 41, and would arguably have finished top of the timesheet but for traffic when he did finally take to the track with 25 minutes remaining.
Rosberg finished top with a lap of one minute 26.225 seconds, although Hamilton would likely have found some satisfaction with clocking the quickest lap of the day in the morning outing with a 1min 26.187secs.
The fact there is no difference in times between the hard and medium Pirelli tyres – the softer compound is normally far quicker – may surprise many, but the teams opted to perform heavy-fuel race simulations in FP2 rather than qualifying runs, as is often the case in such a session.
Hamilton ultimately finished 0.061secs adrift of Rosberg in FP2, with a further surprise the fact their rivals are far closer than perhaps was expected on a power circuit where Mercedes should be dominant.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was the best of the rest, but only a tenth of a second off the pace, with team-mate Fernando Alonso fourth quickest and a third of a second down.
Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, Button and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull were all around half a second adrift in fifth, sixth and seventh.
The team-mates of the trio completed the top 10, with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen eighth fastest, followed by Williams’ Felipe Massa and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The Australian has won the last two races to thrust himself into title contention, but suffered technical issues of his own during practice to keep him three quarters of a second back.
With all race drivers back in harness for FP2, after four reserves were used in the first session, there was still another familiar sight with the Caterhams propping up the pack.
After being forced to sit out the race in Spa for what he has claimed are “political” reasons in his team, and also FP1 at Monza, Kamui Kobayashi was back behind the wheel for FP2.
The Japanese was 21st, just under three seconds down, with team-mate Marcus Ericsson a fraction of a second down at the rear.
Marussia’s Max Chilton was 19th, the Briton even managing to finish ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.