Rosberg sets the early pace

Rosberg sets the early pace

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg finished 0.072 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton to set the pace in second practice at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The title rivals went head-to-head once again on Friday afternoon, with both cars showing tremendous pace throughout both practice sessions.

Rosberg finished first in both P1 and P2 but Hamilton continue to pile on the pressure as he finished just in front of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton now has five races left to try and climb ahead of the German and he admits the car feels good this weekend.

"It's been a really good day with no problems on the car which is great," he said. "But there's still some work to be done overnight in order to find more pace.

"Hopefully we'll be going into Sunday in good shape."

Hamilton finished 0.323 seconds quicker than Kimi Raikkonen, two places ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the pair were split by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jnr rounded off the top ten, while Jenson Button could only finish in 16th.