A fast improving Felipe Massa was less than a tenth slower than his Ferrari teammate in third place and faster than two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel.
The second 90 minute session of the day was interrupted by Bruno Senna's massive accident as the Brazilian lost control of the rear end of his Williams and crashed into the infamous 'wall of champions'.
The clean-up work by the track marshalls and safety crew delayed the session by nearly half an hour.
Paul Di Resta rounded out the top five in his Force India as his teammate Nico Hulkenberg was eighth fastest behind the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher. The German, in turn, was just behind Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber.
Nico Rosberg posted the tenth fastest time of the session behind McLaren's Jenson Button who spent the majority of the session in his team's garage trying to rectify a problem with the rear end of his MP4-27.
HRT's Narain Karthikeyan was 23rd, 0.524 seconds ahead of Charles Pic's Marussia. However he was 0.476 slower than his teammate Pedro de la Rosa who managed to beat Timo Glock's Marussia in the battle of the tail-end teams.