Ferrari broke the Mercedes' dominance to take the fastest time during the second practice session, which is a positive sign for the rest of the season. But it was unclear if the Silver Arrows team were running a tuned down engine, with their true potential to be unleashed during qualifying on Saturday.
Kimi Raikkonen continued his good form from Bahrain to take the fastest time ahead of his teammate, with the fastest lap coming on the SuperSoft compound 40 minutes into the session. Nico Rosberg, who was fastest in FP1 could only manage third, while teammate Lewis Hamilton was in fourth. Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top five with yet another impressive performance for the Red Bull Racing team, who were expected to struggle at the start of the season.
FP1 saw very minimal running after the session was red flagged following a couple of tyre failures suffered by Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen. The FP2 also started with slight drama when Esteban Gutierrez's rear brakes went up in flames ending his session, but the rest of the cars carried on with their programme, with the Ferrari and Mercedes much ahead in terms of pace compared to the other teams.
The quick laps on the SuperSoft compound tyres, however, could be worth nothing as rain is predicted for the qualifying session on Saturday, which will even things out a bit for the teams who are slower in the dry.
Where to watch live
The third free practice session begins at 5am GMT, while the qualifying session starts at 8am GMT. Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports F1 HD will provide live coverage of both events in the UK.
Real-time internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's official website.
Top 10 results of the second practice session from Shanghai International Circuit, China: