Lewis Hamilton beat teammate Valtteri Bottas by a quarter of a second to top FP2, but there looks to be a mouth-watering fight behind the Mercedes.
Lando Norris had a tough session with car issues but ended the session third, taking the position with five minutes to go.
Pierre Gasly also had a good session to place fourth although he complained his AlphaTauri was ‘bouncing from the rear’ late on.
AlphaTauri look strong going into Saturday, at the track where they took their only race win, with Sebastian Vettel in 2008.
Max Verstappen recovered from his difficult free practice one to take fifth, and it looks to be a lottery for the next fastest car behind Mercedes, with Red Bull battling Renault, AlphaTauri, McLaren and Racing Point.
Vettel’s current employers Ferrari aren’t going to be in that battle, with Charles Leclerc ninth and the German in twelfth which looks if anything like an over-performance.
Carlos Sainz was sixth, less than a tenth behind the Dutchman, ahead of Daniil Kvyat and the two Racing Points split by Leclerc.
Alex Albon was another driver who endured a difficult afternoon, seven-tenths behind his teammate in 14th place.
The only home driver on the grid, Antonio Giovinazzi, was 13th fastest.
George Russell was unhappy with car balance in his first outing of the weekend, after Roy Nissany took free practice one, and languished at the bottom of the timesheet.