Rosberg’s best time of 1:27.697, set on the soft tyre, was a tenth quicker than Hamilton’s, set on the same rubber.
The Mercedes pair were the only drivers to get under the 1m28s barrier, with third-placed Sebastian Vettel finishing six tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace. The new Ferrari recruit also beat out team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by an impressive four tenths of a second.
After finishing third in the first session, Valtteri Bottas slipped to fifth as he focused on ling runs during the second session. His was the only Williams on track, however, as team-mate Felipe Massa was sidelined by a water leak on his car for the whole session.
Williams weren’t the only team to field just one car in the second session. Daniel Ricciardo was hampered in the morning by a hydraulic issue and the need to replace his power unit in the later afternoon meant that he was unable to take part in second practice.
Ricciardo’s team-mate Daniil Kvyat finished sixth behind Bottas, though the Red Bull Racing driver was more than seven tenths adrift of the Finn’s best time.
In the earlier session, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz finished in fourth place but in the second session the son of two-time World Rally champion Carlos Sr, finished in seventh sport, just a few hundredths of a second clear of Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan was followed by team-mate Romain Grosjean who recovered from technical issues in the morning to log 36 laps in the second session. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten with a time 2.5s down on Rosberg’s best.
After sitting out the first session, both Sauber drivers took to the track in the late afternoon period, with Felipe Nasr finishing in 11th position. It was a less happy session for team-mate Marcus Ericsson. The Sweded suffered a suspension failure on his car early in the session and took no further part.
McLaren too had a difficult session, with Kevin Magnussen crashing out after just four laps. The Dane slid off track at Turn 6 and damaged the left side of the car to the extent that he was unable to rejoin the action.
Australian Grand Prix Free Practice Two
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:27.697s – 28
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.797s 0.100s 24
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:28.412s 0.715s 33
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:28.842s 1.145s 33
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:29.265s 1.568s 32
6 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:30.016s 2.319s 27
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:30.071s 2.374s 40
8 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:30.104s 2.407s 11
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:30.205s 2.508s 36
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:30.473s 2.776s 30
11 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:30.755s 3.058s 32
12 Sergio Perez Force India 1:30.980s 3.283s 32
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1:31.387s 3.690s 21
14 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:31.395s 3.698s 6
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:32.303s 4.606s 14
16 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:33.289s 5.592s 4
Australian Grand Prix – Free Practice One
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:29.557s 19
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.586s 0.029s 19
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:30.748s 1.191s 20
4 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 1:31.014s 1.457s 32
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.029s 1.472s 13
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:31.067s 1.510s 31
7 Felipe Massa Williams 1:31.188s 1.631s 19
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:31.310s 1.753s 14
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:31.451s 1.894s 22
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:31.570s 2.013s 9
11 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:32.073s 2.516s 18
12 Sergio Perez Force India 1:32.247s 2.690s 22
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:32.261s 2.704s 19
14 Jenson Button McLaren 1:34.542s 4.985s 6
15 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:34.785s 5.228s 7
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 2:17.782s 48.225s 5